Patricia L. Graves “Patty” departed this life for her heavenly home on March 31, 2023. She passed away peacefully at home with loved ones nearby every step of the way. She was a faithful woman who loved the Lord, her family, church, and community.
Patty was born February 16, 1931 in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, and was raised by loving foster parents Jessie and Abram Kipple in Akron, Ohio. She attended The University of Akron and is a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. She worked in the advertising department of the Akron Beacon Journal before meeting her husband, Harvey Graves, Chairman and CEO of Empire Wholesale Lumber Co.
She was deeply grateful to call Akron home, and is known for nearly 70 years of service to the people and community she loved so dearly. Patty served on the boards of many civic organizations and as cofounder, with husband Harvey, of the Patricia and J. Harvey Graves Family Foundation, created mainly to provide assistance to people in need in the Akron community. She enjoyed providing encouragement and much more to young people, which often included helping some finish their education.
Patty served for nine years as a member of the Board of Trustees of The University of Akron. She was honored to be selected as Vice Chair and later Chairwoman of the Board by her fellow trustees. Along with Trustee Dr. John Fink, she initiated the Landscape for Learning Building Program in the mid-1990s that led the institution into the 21st century. She was an associate member of The University of Akron’s Women’s Committee, a member of the UA Foundation Stewardship Committee, and member of the UA Research Foundation Board of Directors. In 2004, the University lauded Patty with an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts & Humanities and named her Chairwoman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees. Last but not least, she was a diehard Akron Zips sports fan and rarely missed a basketball game, wearing blue and gold proudly.
In addition to serving the University, Patty volunteered with a host of the city’s organizations in fields as diverse as medicine, art, education, sports, social welfare, and business. She was secretary of the Akron Community Foundation, a trustee of the Akron Art Museum, a member and former president of the Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Women’s Board, The Child Guidance Center Women’s Board, member of the Conservancy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, trustee emeritus of the Akron Automobile Association, and member of the Blossom Music Center Women’s Committee, the Junior League of Akron, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Portage Country Club.
Patty served as a board member of the Akron Golf Charities Foundation, the American Golf Classic, World Series of Golf, NEC World Series of Golf, the First Tee of Akron, and Vice President of the Executive Board of the NEC Invitational Golf Tournament. Her involvement with Akron golf organizations spanned over 40 years.
In addition, Patty was a member of the Akron Garden Club and Garden Club of America, where she enjoyed working on the proposal for the Honorable John F. Seiberling to receive the GCA’s 1988 Francis K. Hutchinson Medal, awarded to figures of national importance for distinguished service to conservation. She also established the Patricia K. Graves vase for excellence in flower arranging, which is passed yearly to recipients in the Akron Garden Club. She was an ardent benefactor of Bluecoats Incorporated of Summit County and Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
When Patty worked with others, it was sure to be fun. She loved to laugh, and she loved people. She was a wonderful connector and brought together many talented people and resources in the Akron community. Above all, she was a loving friend and a lovely person. She made an impression on the lives of so many. She was grateful to have landed in Akron and into a community of such wonderful people, and her devotion to others was shown in a beautiful life of service.
Patty was preceded in death by husband, J. Harvey Graves, son, John H. Graves, Jr., nephew, William Oswald, Jr., sister, Delores Oswald, brother-in-law, Bill Oswald, nephew, R. Scott Graves, and niece, Margo Vlassis. Patty is survived by her daughter, Dianne Graves Dickey and grandson, Travis Dickey IV and daughter, Mary Ann Graves, all of Dallas, Texas. She is also survived by nephew, Keith(Michele) Graves, niece, Pamela (Patrick) O’Neill, nephew, Jim (Lorena) Hartenstein, niece, Nancy Ernst and nephew in law, Dennis Vlassis. She also leaves behind her beloved assistant and friends of nearly 25 years, Vicky and her family.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to the Rosenfeld family and the wonderful people of Ohio Living Palliative Medicine and Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice, as well as Debbie Krajcik and the loving care givers who stayed by Patty’s side.
A private entombment service will be held Wednesday, May 17 at Rose Hill Burial Park. Calling hours will be Thursday, May 18 from 4 to 7 pm at Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel, 85 N. Miller Rd. A Memorial Service will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1361 W. Market St, Akron, Ohio 44313, on Friday, May 19 at 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The University of Akron to The Jessie and Abram Kipple "Making a Difference" Scholarship Fund, the Patricia L. and J. Harvey Graves Palliative Care Training Fund, or to the Z-Fund at the University of Akron, Department of Development, 375 E. Exchange Street, Akron OH 44325-2603.
Services in care of The Billow Funeral Homes & Crematory, Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road, Akron, OH 44333.
To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.