Calvin “Cal” Graham
Calvin “Cal” Graham was born in southeast Kansas on October 29, 1933 to Charles “Charlie” and Sarah Graham. Along with his older sister, Aileen, the Grahams lived at the Cherryvale Country Club where Charlie was the caretaker and greenskeeper. Cal’s childhood was marked by hard work and the love of the out-of-doors. Charlie’s responsibilities to the country club were a family affair and Cal pitched in from a very early age. He mowed fairways, worked as a trap boy at the trap range, maintained duck blinds and docks on the lake and worked in the clubhouse kitchen during country club events. Charlie was renowned hunter and fisherman in the area and Cal followed in his dad’s footsteps and enjoyed outdoor pursuits for the rest of his life.
Cal’s teenage years were spent going very fast, on both two wheels and four. At a very young age a local sponsor selected Cal to drive his stock car. His racing career was successful, but short, ending in a crash that badly broke his leg. His other gas powered passion was motorcycles. Cal came of riding age during the post-World War II motorcycle craze dominated by Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Cal would own bikes from both companies over the years and ride many thousands of miles.
Cal enlisted in the US Army shortly after his high school days ended and trained to be a heavy equipment and artillery repairman. He served in both Germany and the United States. The metal working skills the Army provided would serve Cal well in the coming years.
After leaving the Army Cal took a job with Continental Telephone Company installing rotary dial phone systems all over the country.
This new technology put him on a path for a very successful career and put him in the path of love of his life, Lillian Stoltz. Cal met “Lil” while installing phones in Minnesota and they were married shortly thereafter on December 27, 1957. Cal, Lil and their daughter, Shelly, crisscrossed the country putting in phone systems, large and small, until Shelly became school-aged and needed a less vagabond lifestyle. Cal accepted a position with the phone company in northwest Washington State where the family would live for many years.
Shortly after Lil’s passing in 1987, Cal made his way back to Missouri where he and Lil had always planned to retire. He spent his later years traveling and playing around in his wood shop. Cal loved to tell stories and his many talents shined when he would recount one of his adventures. His final years were in Cassville, Missouri where we enjoyed the peaceful beauty with his treasured friends.
Besides his love for Lil and Shelly, Cal had two great passions as an adult. One, cultivated at a young age, was his love of motorcycles. The metalworking skills learned in the Army lead Cal to be master at customizing motorcycles. His customizations were both functional and cosmetic. Lil was very much a partner in Cal’s motorcycle life. Not only was she a frequent passenger, she helped produce custom riding clothes and motorcycle luggage. They were very active in the Retreads, a national motorcycle organization.
Cal’s other passion may have been born on the Kansas prairies, but they came to fruition in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Cal was an expert rifle shot from a young age and that skill would serve him well during hunting trips in pursuit of Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Elk, Mule Deer, Black Bear and Pronghorn Antelope. Cal had many a harrowing story about time spent on the steep and icy slopes of his beloved Cascade Mountains.
Survivors include his daughter, Shelly Welsch, of Fort Collins, Colorado; three grandchildren, Kristin Welsch, of Arvada, Colorado, Dustin Welsch and Jessica Welsch, both of Fort Collins, Colorado; two nephews, Eric Cunningham, of Columbia, and Jon Cunningham, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and special friend, Alecia Marshall, of Purdy.
In addition to his parents and his wife, Cal was preceded in death by his sister, Aileen Vining.
Graveside services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 15, 2020, at Fairview Cemetery in Cherryvale, Kansas, with words of comfort spoken by Jon Cunningham.
Friends may come by the funeral home on Friday, February 14th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to pay their respect.
Memorial contributions may be made to Haven of the Ozarks and entrusted to the White Funeral Home, P.O. Box 890, Cassville MO 65625.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the White Funeral Home and Crematory, Cassville, Missouri. Please visit www.whitefuneralhome.org for online condolences.