Sylvia Van Allen Graves was born on Dec. 5, 1944, at Helen Keller Hospital in Tuscumbia, Ala. She grew up in Sheffield, Ala. and was homecoming queen at Sheffield High School in 1963.
She attended the University of Alabama, was a member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority and graduated with a B.S. Political Science degree in 1967. Mrs. Graves went on to teach elementary education at Town Creek. She later moved to Russellville with her husband, Dr. John Terry Graves, and there she raised two daughters, Kelly and Laurie. After seeing her girls off to college, she studied and earned a Master’s degree in Learning Disabilities from the University of North Alabama. She then worked for Russellville City Schools as Director of Early Childhood Intervention for 17 years and retired with receiving Russellville City Schools Teacher of the Year Award.
Sylvia was the kindest, most generous and caring person, always willing to put others before herself. Most recently she served on the Board of Directors for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. Her spirit and legacy will live on through all of those who had the pleasure of knowing her.
Funeral service will be Thursday, Sep. 6, 2012, 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, Russellville, with Brother Clint Busler and Brother Bo Lloyd officiating. The body will be placed in the church one hour prior to service from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Sheffield. Visitation will be Wednesday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Pinkard Funeral Home, Russellville.
Survivors include husband, Dr. John Terry Graves, Muscle Shoals; children, Dr. Kelly Van Graves Guthrie, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Stephanie Laurel Graves Rubbo, Dallas, Texas; brothers, Charles Owen Allen, Muscle Shoals, James Morrison Allen, Florence, Roland Benoit Allen Jr., Charlotte, N.C.; grandchildren, Megan Elizabeth Guthrie, Payton Caroline Guthrie, John Mehegan Rubbo, Magdalene Claire Rubbo; several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by parents, Roland Benoit Allen and Ina Claire Hill Allen.
Pinkard Funeral Home, Russellville, will be directing.