We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Clancy Strickland Wheeler Funeral Home and Cremation Service
Ronald William Graves went to be with the Lord Jesus on Sunday, September 4, 2022, after a long and bravely fought battle with septic shock and other complications following a liver transplant in May. Ron’s passion for life, his love for his family and his tenacious courage were evident until the very end when he passed peacefully into the arms of his Lord.
Ron was the youngest of five children born in Salina, Kansas to Rosa de Jesus Gutierrez and Army Staff Sgt. Westley Graves. His father’s army career took the family to various places including Fort Riley, Kansas and Fort Hood, Tx, eventually ending up in El Paso, Texas where Ron graduated from Andress High School in 1990. During his high school career, Ron’s outgoing, vibrant and fun-loving personality really emerged. Among other things, he was part of a dance troupe called “The International Males,” a fact that most of his family loved to talk to him about. In high school, he made many friends whom he had adventures with and stayed in touch with throughout his life including some friends who became his lifelong friends including Jesse Lezcano, Christopher Myers, Vivian Collado and Clint Nelms.
Ron attended the University of Texas for a period of time before embarking on his professional career first in the logistics industry and then eventually in technology. He held various positions in different companies, always using his outgoing personality and drive for excellence to advance to several directorships. Most recently, his jobs were in the non-profit sector, helping various agencies and organizations with their technology needs. He was passionate about his work with non-profits, even spending personal time doing such things as coordinating city-wide outreaches to the homeless in Austin, Texas.
But his biggest passion was his family. He met his wife, Ishele in the mid 90’s when they were connected through the logistics industry. They lost touch for over 10 years but during a chance encounter at a church service in 2006 their connection became permanent. Their whirlwind romance led to their marriage in April of 2007. He became an instant dad to Ishele’s three children, Austin, Mikaela and Mia and they added their son, Miles, to the family shortly thereafter. Ron was an amazing dad who happily invested his heart and soul into the family. He could always be counted on to help coach a team, help with projects or attend events. He was tremendously proud of his kids and through his own example, encouraged each of them to strive for excellence in all their endeavors. He imparted his own love of travel to the family and they took many memorable trips to places like Australia, Boston, New Orleans, multiple Disney Cruises, New York City, the Caribbean, Mexico, Colorado, Yosemite, White Sands and Kings Canyon National Parks, Florida and even Ecuador. Ron always liked to introduce his kids to new experiences and loved sharing fun times with them, as well as his extended family of nieces and nephews. “Uncle Ron'' could always be counted on for a fun time, no matter the occasion.
His other interests included Formula One racing, which he loved to attend with his friends and family. He had a passion for tennis, golf, movies and especially music. He and Ishele loved to host gatherings for everything from Super Bowl to Academy Awards and anything in between. All holidays were an opportunity to have fun and celebrate in Ron’s eyes, and he loved to share those celebrations with family and friends. He was a generous and gracious host who welcomed everyone. He became a loved member of the “Waterstone Crew” who were a tremendous support to him and his family through the difficult times he experienced towards the end of his life. The Waterstone Crew families including the Greers, Harrisons, Millers, Naumans, Spencers and Vergolias’s all became an extended family to Ron since moving to North Carolina in 2019 and he especially loved spending time with them talking, laughing and celebrating his 50th birthday in the mountains.
Ron also had a big heart for the furry children in his life, especially his beloved golden retriever, Jack, who preceded him in death. Two other goldens, Pebble and Hamilton, as well as the newest member of their canine family, a Frenchie named Remy, and their three rescue cats, Stripes, Enzo and Cheeto, have all enjoyed the benefit of Ron and Ishele’s love of animals.
Ron’s passing has left a huge hole in all our hearts. He was a vibrant part of the family and he will be missed tremendously. We all hope that we can follow his example by making the most of each day of this gift we call “our life.” It is what Ron would have wanted most.
Ron is survived by his loving wife, Ishele Zarria Graves; children Miles Landon Graves of Wake Forest, Austin Massey and daughter-in-law Layla Massey of Austin, TX, Mikaela Massey of Wake Forest, and Mia Massey of Wake Forest; brother James Graves, his wife Lelet of Okinawa, Japan and daughters, Jamie, Jasmine, Janine and husband Matt and daughter Lily. In-law parents, Emil and Christie Zarria of Lehigh Acres, FL; sister-in-law, Amber Anania of Port Elgin, Canada and husband and children, Tyson, Abbie, Isaiah, Gemma & Gianna; sister-in-law Katherine Allbright of Austin, TX and sons Zane & Ty; brother-in-law Hugh Zarria of Labelle, FL, wife Mariah and children Coraline & Zeke; sister-in-law Glynnis Christensen, husband Cory and their children Hezi & Emma. He was preceded in death by both his parents and three siblings, Arthur Graves, Rosemary Soto and Mary Steffes. His surviving nephews Marcos (wife), the late Arthur, Alex (wife) and Veronica live in Texas and Arizona.
Services details can be found at the link below.