Walter Lee Graham passed away at the V.A. Hospital in Boise, Idaho, on May 10, 2014, at the age of 84. Bud was born May 17, 1929, in Midvale, Idaho, to Peter Duncan Graham and Margaret Heinrich Graham Lane. Bud left school at the age of 16 to join the United States Navy in San Diego and served on the USS Chevalier-DD-805 until the end of World War II. During that period of his military service, Bud helped build a radar station in Motobu, Okinawa. He was discharged from the Navy in 1949, but later that same year enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, with the 101st Airborne, South Pacific. During his service in the Army, Bud worked on the Chosin Reservoir on the Yellow River during the Korean War. Bud’s work on this project subjected him to some of the roughest terrain and the harshest winter weather conditions experienced by the U.S. military during the Korean War. While working on that project, Bud was severely wounded when a landmine detonated while he was performing a Long Range Recon Patrol. His wounds were so severe that his surviving team members initially thought him dead, but his strong will kept him going. As a result of those wounds, Bud spent two and a half years recovering at Letterman’s General Hospital in Presidio, San Francisco, California. Bud was forced to retire from the military in December of 1953, due to his wounds. He spent the remainder of his years in Treasure Valley, keeping close touch with his family and friends. He was always very proud of his opportunity to serve his country through military duty.
Bud is survived by his brother Jay Graham (Klamath Falls, OR), his son, Walt L. Bitner (Boise) granddaughter, Krystal Bitner- Shimel, and great grandchildren, Braydon and Noah (Caldwell, Idaho), as well as his daughter, Sheila Bitner Sipiora (Moscow, Idaho), and grandchildren Tara Sipiora Nwoke (Moscow, Idaho), Ashina Sipiora (Seattle, WA), and Michael Sipiora (Boise).
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Barbara Bitner, brothers, Bob Graham, Russ Graham, Jack Graham, Dick Graham and Joe Watkins.
He will be remembered as a caring father and a loving grandfather who adored his family. We remember him playing endless games of cards, and as a kind friend with unlimited jokes and stories. He loved camping, and told of once hunting with Gary Cooper and his bags of onions. He will be remembered for his great sense of humor, always laughing and making others laugh, his kind and gentle outlook, and his amazing generosity. Bud was loved beyond measure by his friends and family and will be greatly missed.
The Family is planning a small grave side memorial to be held at the Eastside Cemetery in Midvale, Idaho, at 2 p.m. (MST) on Saturday, June 14, 2014. All are welcome; please bring your fun memories and stories to share. Condolences may be made at www.bellavidafuneral.com.