Lt. Col. Thomas Jefferson Graham (Ret. Tennessee Army National Guard), of Franklin, moved to his final duty station in Heaven on Aug. 20, 2023, after serving 87 years on earth and spending 64 of those with his wife and commanding officer Sue.
Born on Aug. 7, 1936, in DeKalb County, he was preceded in death by his parents Andrew J. Graham and Willie Mae Haley.
The Colonel is survived by his wife Sue Graham, son Scott Graham, daughters Susan (Marcus) Fitzsimmons and Vera Graham, and granddaughter Katelyn Fraker.
No one was a stranger around the Colonel for more than a few minutes. He was always ready with a greeting and story, usually about his beloved Yankees, with a cigar or pipe not far away. A graduate of George Peabody College (now Vanderbilt University), he went on to also earn his Masters in Education from Peabody, and worked for Metro Nashville Public Schools, retiring as the director of textbook services.
The Colonel served in the Guard from 1959 to 1986. Enlisting as a private, he was admitted to Officer Candidate School and graduated first in his form. He proceeded to Chemical Warfare training where he also graduated top of his class at Fort Stewart. He served as the Guard’s chemical officer for Tennessee, training troops in chemical and nuclear fallout procedures during the Cold War. He attended the Army War College and the Army Command and General Staff College.
The Colonel was proud of his Scottish heritage and sported his bonnie knees under a Clan Graham kilt on numerous occasions. An avid fisherman, he held the record lunker at Center Hill Lake for a number of years.
The family would like to thank the staff at Willow Springs Assisted Living for their care and assistance the last two years. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, August 28, at Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, 7931 McCrory Lane, Nashville. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Wounded Warrior Foundation in his memory.