Virgil Russell Graham passed away at his home in Coarsegold on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at the age of 77.
Virgil was predeceased by his loving wife Annabelle Lewis Graham, his son Sammy Hughes Graham, parents William Graham and Nelly Goodeye Graham, siblings Martha Graham, Solomon Graham, Al Graham, Delmar Graham, Ruth Graham, Lucille Graham, Paul Graham, Beverley Graham, and John Graham.
He is survived by his sons, Vincent Graham and Dustin Graham, and his daughter, Jennifer Graham Stanley. He is lovingly remembered by his nine grandchildren Felicia Graham, Julia Ann Graham, Emily Graham, Athena Graham, Samuel Graham, Jr., Elias Graham, Isabelle Stanley, Owen Stanley, and Ava Stanley.
Virgil was born in Madera on Jan. 12, 1942. He graduated from Sierra High School in 1959. After high school, he joined the Marines and was stationed in New Jersey. Upon his return home, he began work in the tree service industry. He founded Graham’s Tree Service in 1961 and established a 58-year career in the tree service and logging industry.
He was a member of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians and was one of the last male Chukchansi-speaking people in the world.
Virgil, also known as “Duke,” will be remembered for his love for his wife of 52 years, Annie, his expertise and knowledge in tree falling and logging, loving and providing for his family, and working with his sons in the woods.
A celebration of life service will be held at First Baptist Church in Oakhurst on Oct. 8, at 2 p.m.
Following the service, a private burial will be held for family members at the Lewis-Goodeye Cemetery in Coarsegold.
All those who worked with Virgil are encouraged to bring their chainsaws to perform a chainsaw salute.
A reception will follow the burial service at the Coarsegold Community Center in Coarsegold.