Graves, Mary Lou (Dunlap)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mary Lou Graves,of Dunlap, died quietly on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.

She was the beloved wife of 66 years to Dr. Charles Graves and the treasured mother of Dr. Charles Graves (Denise), Louella Freeman (Tim), Nancy Billington (Brad) and Dr. George Graves (Melanie) as well as nine grandchildren and five, soon to be seven, great-grandchildren.

Mary Lou was born in Loma Linda, Ca. to Dr. Leslie and Lula Ekvall. She had two younger brothers, Dr. David Ekvall (deceased) and LTC Charles Ekvall Retired (Terri). Mary Lou grew up traveling the world as her family followed Dr. Ekvall'S medical Navy career wherever it led. Her world experiences ignited Mary Lou's passion for people, places and new adventures.

She graduated as a nurse from Loma Linda University where she met and married Charles Graves on June 11, 1951. She supported Dr. Charles in his dream to serve the medical needs of a small town in his home state of Tennessee. They moved to Dunlap in 1955, working together to eventually expand Sequatchie General Hospital to a 49-bed facility. Mary Lou worked as Nursing director, floor nurse, Operating Room supervisor, Emergency Room RN and taught numerous Nursing Aid Courses in the community. Later, Mary Lou was an independent nursing consultant preparing area hospitals and Home Health organizations for Joint Commission inspections so they would qualify to receive funding.

During those busy years, Mary Lou sparked the love of adventure in her children with cross-country road trips to National Parks, the Alaska Highway to Anchorage and through Mexico to Acapulco, as well as wild river rafting expeditions. She was a leader in many areas at the Seventh-Day Adventist church and school. Mary Lou brainstormed the idea of teaching kids how to swim for VBS at the Graves family pool and she personally taught this vital life skill for four decades.

Her talents extraordinaire are too numerous to list. Mary Lou's love and creative life reflected God's awesome love and her absence dims our lives. We look forward to our reunion with our beloved Mary Lou when Jesus returns. It is well with our souls.

Visitation will be on Friday, Nov. 3 from 2-8 p.m. at Ewton Funeral Home, 6936 Hwy. 28 in Dunlap.  Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4  at 2 p.m.

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