Robert P. "Bob" Graham, local businessman, boater and community leader, died on Saturday, March 31, at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. He was 82.
Graham was born in 1935 in San Marino and grew up on Balboa Island. He graduated from Newport Harbor High School in 1953 and Orange Coast College in 1955, and studied at UCLA and Rutgers University. In the 1960s, Graham managed the Los Altos Shopping Center before going to work for Barron Hilton of Hilton Hotels International in 1967. He managed several Hilton family-owned businesses and continued as a member of the Board of Directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
Graham was co-owner of Town & Country Glass of Signal Hill. He later joined Coast Bank of Long Beach and served the bank until its merger into Bank of San Diego in 1992. He was a partner in IKON Orthodontic Instruments, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Arnco Chemical Inc. He also was the principal of Robert P. Graham and Associates, a management consulting firm.
Graham became active in California Republican politics as an associate of Robert Finch, former Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Richard Nixon. The two men served in Nixon's Presidential campaigns in 1960 and 1968, and Graham managed Finch's unsuccessful 1976 Senate campaign; Graham also served in the first Nixon administration.
Graham was a boater from his youth in Newport Beach, and counted such notable Southern California sailors as Bill Ficker and Bill Lapworth among his boyhood friends. He was a member of Long Beach Yacht Club, served as the club Commodore in 1978 and served on various boards and committees within LBYC until his death. He was Commodore of the Yacht Racing Union of Southern California in 1983.
Graham was a noted community leader, having served more than 30 years on the St. Mary Medical Center Board of Trustees and more than 40 years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Vista Hill Foundation in San Diego. Since 1980, Graham served on the Executive Council of the Long Beach Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, and was Council President in 1994-95. He was active in Rotary International, served as president of the Long Beach Rotary, and is a past president of the Sales & Marketing Executives of Long Beach. He was a member of St. Gregory's Episcopal Church of Long Beach and served on the vestry and other committees.
While in high school, Graham met Barbara Earl, a fellow student; they wed in 1955 and were married for 62 years. The Grahams moved to Long Beach in 1959. They and their three children moved to their current home in Long Beach in 1967, and Graham was still living there when he died.
Graham is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughter Christine Graham Ericksen and her husband Chris Ericksen of Long Beach; daughter Jacqueline Graham Gratke and her husband Michael Gratke of Sunnyvale; son Brian K. Graham and his wife Nancy Cohan Graham of San Francisco; two granddaughters and two great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his brother, James G. Graham, Jr., of Zephyrhills, Florida, and his wife Rose, and brother Malcom Graham of Indio.
Services are pending.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Long Beach Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. http://www.longbeachbsa.org/donate Select “Bob Graham” in the drop down menu.