Rapheal Cruz Graves
Passed on Jun 19, 2014
Born October 24, 1924 in Phoenix, AZ, Raphael Cruz Graves passed away at 89 in Bellevue, WA on June 19. Rae was the third youngest of 20 children of Jesus and Manuela Cruz. Though several of her sisters were nuns, with her beauty and vivacity, it was clear Rae was not cut out for the convent. She met Jim Graves, a U.S. Army sergeant, in Phoenix, married him in 1944 and started a family that grew to seven—their contribution to the baby boom. Rae was a survivor, pulling herself up from poverty and through the trials of breast cancer by dint of hard work and determination. She was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and a loyal friend.
Moving to the Pacific Northwest in the late ‘40’s, Rae and Jim pursued the post-World War II American dream. She was a beautician, a “Rosie the Riveter” at Boeing, and a line worker at Oberto’s. They scrimped and sacrificed in order to become homeowners and finally achieved their goal when they personally built the house in Tukwila where she lived most of her life. They had fun along the way, swing dancing to Benny Goodman and other Big Band masters.
Rae and Jim were fixtures at Foster High School in Tukwila, cheering their sons in baseball, basketball, football and golf, and applauding their daughters in school plays. She kept her Mexican heritage alive through her cooking: flour tortillas patted and rolled out by hand, refritos, arroz con pollo, tacos, enchiladas, tamales, chiles rellenos, chilaquiles and Jim’s favorite—albondigas. With nine mouths to feed, plus frequent company, Rae knew about mass production.
Rae was a devout Catholic and she and Jim were active parishioners at St. Thomas Parish in Tukwila. Her faith sustained her through her bout with breast cancer and the Alzheimer’s that finally claimed her.
Rae was never happier than when she was in the midst of her large family. She leaves her children: Evelyn Cruz Sroufe (husband Parker), Gerald Graves (wife Christina), Stephen Graves, Barbara Evans, Gordon Graves and Ronald Graves; her grandchildren: Stephen Graves, Jr., Jayson, Ryan, Jarod and Joshua Graves, Nathan, Heather and Asa Evans, Rebecca and George Graves; and her great-grandchildren: Gabrielle Graves and Evan Reed, Selah Rae and Isabella Graves, Jaden Oberlander, Madison and Lexsee Evans. Rae was predeceased by her husband, Jim, her son, George Graves, her grandson, Adam Evans and her son-in-law, Larry Evans.
Rae left a part of herself in all of us.
The memorial mass is Friday, June 27th at 11:00 a.m. at Saint Thomas Catholic Church, 4415 South 140th Avenue, Tukwila, Washington, 98168 followed by a lunch reception at the church. Rae will be buried with Jim at Tahoma National Cemetery, 18600 S.E. 240th Street, Kent, WA 98042 on Monday, June 30 at 10:00 a.m.
This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.