(Extensions of Remarks - December 09, 2003)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E2532-E2533]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         TRIBUTE TO BOB GRAHAM


                        HON. JOHN J. DUNCAN, JR.

                              of tennessee

                    in the house of representatives

                        Monday, December 8, 2003

  Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, sometimes ordinary people do extraordinary 
things. We do not have to be rich or famous to leave a positive and 
lasting legacy to this world.
  Bob Graham, one of my constituents from Knoxville, TN, was one of 
those people. Mr. Graham was the long-time supervisor of athletic 
officials for the City of Knoxville and a long-time volunteer leader in 
our community.
  Bob Graham loved children, and he gave tirelessly of himself to 
thousands of young people throughout his career. Many people remember 
him from his days as a youth baseball, football, and basketball coach. 
Everyone who knew him remembered him as a great leader and role model 
for our children. This Nation would be a much better place if there 
were more people here like Mr. Graham.
  Bob Graham passed away following a lengthy illness on November 28th. 
He will be remembered fondly by his family and friends and the 
countless young people he helped through the years.
  Mr. Speaker, I have attached a copy of a tribute to Mr. Graham that 
ran in the Knoxville News Sentinel that I would like to call to the 
attention of my colleagues and other readers of the Record.

            Helping Kids Was Graham's Focus Until His Death

                          (By Chuck Cavalaris)

       Rare is the occasion when just three words can sum up the 
     essence of a person's life.
       Such is the case with a great man like Bob Graham, who 
     passed away Friday night.
       His three words were all about, ``Helping the kids.''
       Bob always had a handy explanation for those 14-hour days 
     and frequent weekends at a ballpark.
       ``I just want to do whatever I can to help the kids,'' he 
       Anyone who had the privilege of knowing the supervisor of 
     athletic officials for the city of Knoxville would agree: he 
     is an all-time great in this regard.
       This stocky, blue-eyed former lineman and kicker from 
     Oliver Springs High School became a youth baseball, football 
     and basketball coach (1956-1982) who helped thousands of 
     kids. He also found time in the 1970s to be a TSSAA football 
     referee and was a baseball scout for the St. Louis Cardinals.
       To many people, Bob Graham was the tireless volunteer 
     leader at Badgett Field. His passion led to a full-time job 
     offer by former recreation department director Maynard Glenn. 
     Talk about a great hire.
       ``Bob is probably the most-conscientious person I have ever 
     known,'' said Norman Bragg, who worked with Graham for many 
     years. ``Nowadays, you just don't replace someone like that. 
     He did what he did without asking for a single thing in 
     return--that was just Bob.''
       Sure, he loved his children--all seven of them--and he was 
     really proud of his grandkids. But he also cared deeply about

[[Page E2533]]

     the scruffy, undersized youngsters who didn't even know how 
     to hold a softball bat or throw a baseball. He took great 
     delight in working with these children and watching their 
     self-esteem grow. That was Bob Graham.
       ``Dad just wanted all kids to have the opportunities in 
     sports that he might not have had growing up,'' said his son, 
     Mark. ``He loved doing that. I think he would rather be at 
     the ballpark than anywhere else. It was his second home.''
       Graham, who was 69, was instrumental in the planning, 
     design and construction of the award-winning Caswell Park 
     softball complex off Winona Avenue.
       He died at St. Mary's Hospice in Halls and had a rare brain 
     disease called Creutzfeldt-Jacob (pronounced kroitsfelt-
     yakob). There is no known cure for CJD, which strikes 
     approximately one in a million people worldwide between the 
     ages of 55 and 75.
       The family received the diagnosis less than eight weeks 
     ago, which left time to say goodbye. Considering the 
     circumstances, they were thankful he did not suffer. He 
     passed away quietly, just after speaking with close friend 
     Willie Anderson.
       ``My mother (Judy) was holding dad's hand,'' Jeff Graham 
     said. ``She was saying, `I love you, Bob I love you, Bob' 
     when he took his last breath. I think he held on just a 
     little bit longer to make sure everyone had the chance to say 
       Graveside services are set for 11 a.m. today at Woodhaven 
     Memory Gardens.
       Bob Graham had a positive, uplifting impact on more lives 
     than he possibly could have known. We love you, Bob. Many of 
     us will never really and truly say goodbye.
       Donations can be sent to Beaver Ridge United Methodist 
     (Family Life Center), P.O. Box 7007, Knoxville, TN., 37921 or 
     The Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bob Graham Memorial 
     Scholarship Fund, 406 Union Ave., Knoxville, TN. 37902.