Thomas James Graham, 1949-2022

With sadness and JOY, we announce the change in residence for Thomas James Graham. He left this life and entered paradise on July 25, 2022, surrounded by his wife and children after suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Tom was born May 16, 1949, in Van Nuys, Calif., to Walter Carroll and Inez Graham. His parents and older brother, Jay Graham, relocated to Tehachapi, Calif., when Tom was 7. Tom grew up in Tehachapi, attending Wells elementary, Jacobsen Junior High, and graduating from Tehachapi High School, class of 1967.

After high school, Tom enlisted in the Air Force and served in Vietnam. Tom proposed to the love of his life, Dixie (Stevens) Graham, before he left for Vietnam; then (with his romantic insight) mailed her an engagement ring from Vietnam. They were married on May 29, 1971, at the First Baptist Church in Tehachapi.

Tom and Dixie were married for 51 years, one month, three weeks and five days. During that time, they had two children, Shane E. Graham and Aimee L. (Graham) Searles. His children were his next great love until his grandchildren arrived.

Tom and Dixie lived in Tehachapi for 45 years before moving to Vermont to be closer to their daughter in 2020, when Tom’s health started to decline. Tom was many things; he made a living as an electrician and eventually was a building and trade supervisor at the prison in Tehachapi (CCI), but he was annoyingly good at everything. He could fix almost anything, he was a pilot, water skier, biker (think Harley, not pedals), ventriloquist, Daddy, Papa/Pappo, mentor, motorhome traveler, professional driver, gospel quartet singer, banjo player, and he had mean robot dance moves to name a few.

Before Alzheimer's started to steal his mind, Tom loved participating in the Patriot Guard, escorting fallen soldiers and veterans to their final resting place. He even taught himself to play taps. Above all things, Tom was a Christ follower. Today we know that he is whole again, no longer trapped by a tangled mess of a mind. Tom is in paradise and celebrating. We miss the man we knew and loved, but we too are shouting with JOY, knowing we will see him again and he can dance and sing or simply sit in admiration of the KING for eternity.

Tom was preceded in death (and reunited in heaven) by his parents, Walter and Inez Graham, and beloved in-laws, Darrell and Louise Stevens. He is survived by his loving wife Dixie Graham, his son Shane (Andrea) Graham of Roy Washington, and their children Hailey Graham (Andrew Hardwick), Cortney (Josiah) Couch, his daughter Aimee (Gordon) Searles, and their children Miles (favorite grandson) and Greta Searles of Peru Vermont, his brother Jay (Becky) Graham of Apple Valley Ca, and his “Bubba” Wayne (Beth) Bush of Clovis Ca, as well as nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.

Full military honors will be held Oct. 7, 2022, 10:45 a.m. at the Bakersfield National Cemetery. Celebration of life will be held on Oct. 8, 2022, at the Tehachapi Church of the Nazarene at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Vermont Veterans Home (Activities Fund) c/o Brewster Shea Funeral Services PO Box 885 Manchester Center, VT 05255.

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