A long time County Commissioner and icon of the community, Gilbert Leroy Graves, passed away Friday at the age of 82.
“He was a hard working family man and friend who did so much for MJ and the county,” said Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin.
Martin said he was just talking to Graves last week about how he was one of Martin’s first traffic stops when he was “green and wet behind the ears” as a new officer.
“He was so kind to me then and over the years as we became great friends,” said Martin.
Graves served on the Wilson County Commission for 44 years, and worked with many different people along the way.
“He was a great leader for Wilson County,” said Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto. “He was the kind of leader people wanted to follow.”
Hutto said that Graves was a true communicator, but was also willing to listen to anyone. He said he was always willing to help in anyway he could.
In addition to the County Commission, Graves served as past chairman pro tem of the Wilson County Court/Commission, the first Planning Commission, the first Joint Economic Development Board, the Wilson County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the Road Commission for Wilson County.
“He was excellent to work with,” said the Wilson County Road Commission’s Steve Armistead. “He was very supportive, worked for the best for Wilson County.”
Armistead said he was always working with them, and was supportive of everything they did. He said even after he left his County Commission post, he would still stop by to hear what was going on.
“He was a good man,” said Armistead. “It’s a major loss for us.”
Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty served with Graves on the Joint Economic Development Board.
“He’s had his hand in just about everything,” said Hagerty of his years of service. “He was a great man, very likable, and very easy to work with.”
Graves descendants have been in the Mt. Juliet area since the late 1600s. School Board Chairman Don Weathers, who was Graves son-in-law, said he worked hard every day to make sure that his family would be proud of the area today.
“He wanted to make sure it was done right,” said Weathers. “He loved this community.”
Graves is survived by: wife of 59 years, Mary Lou Roeser Graves; daughter, Diane (Don) Weathers; son, Barry (Kelley) Graves; siblings, Donna G. Ferrell, Brenda (Bob) Lannom, Mahlon (Elois) Graves, Eddie (Beverly) Graves and Susan (Steve) Davis; grandchildren, Darren (Allison) Weathers and Trent Graves; several nieces and nephews.
Graves was the son of the late, Grafton L. and Clara Bell Hamblen Graves. He was a lifetime member of Center Chapel Church of Christ. He also served as an MP in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.
Funeral services will be conducted 12 noon Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at Center Chapel Church of Christ, 9500 Central Pike, Mt. Juliet, TN with Bro. Darrell Duncan, Bro. Andy Connelly and Rev. Chuck Groover officiating. Interment with military honors will follow at Mt. Juliet Memorial Gardens.
Active pallbearers will be nephews, Mark Ferrell, Stephen Graves, Christopher Graves, John G. Graves, Lee Lannom and Aaron Davis. Honorary pallbearers will be Oco Hamblen, Terry Ashe, Sonny Tillman, Drew Hobbs, Randall Hutto, Billy Patton, Lon Mires, Dale McCulloch, David Lawrence, Robert Bryan, Johnny Trice, Monty Mires, Robert Dedman, Val Kelly, Melvin Nelson, Norman Gillespie, Stant Eakes, Jerry Griffin, Joby Eakes and Billy Rowland.
Flowers accepted or memorials may be made to Center Chapel Church of Christ Building Fund, 9500 Central Pike, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122 or Big Brothers of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, P.O. Box 1513, Mt. Juliet, TN 37121.
Arrangements by Bond Memorial Chapel, N. Mt. Juliet Road and Weston Drive, Mt. Juliet, TN. (615)773-2663. Obit Line (615)641-2663, www.bondmemorial.com.