Rapheal Cruz Graves

Passed on Jun 19, 2014

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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.


Rev. Jayson L. Graves, M.MFT
Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 11, 2014

My 'Gramma Rae' was one of the most kind-hearted, self-sacrificial people you could ever meet. I enjoyed a very close relationship with her my whole life, even being taken into their home on two occasions while in High School and College until the Alzheimer's got the best of her so to speak. But even in the end, her essential sweetness was still there. This is particularly comforting for me as the former Clinical Chaplain of Hospice of Illinois where my patients often demonstrated, in their later 'unfiltered' season something that was much less desirable in terms of temperament and attitude...further evidence for me that the character Gram displayed was truly internalized to her depths and now something viably passed-on throughout the generations behind her as a lasting heritage and a boon therein. Thanks for that, Gram: you are sorely missed but forever appreciated and loved. With Gratefulness, Jayson, Susan, Selah Rae & Asabella

Stephen Graves Jr.
Vashon, WA
Jun 26, 2014

we love and miss you very much! you are in gods hands now!

Ryan Graves
Seattle, WA
Jun 26, 2014

I miss my Gramma. She was a bustler, a quick spirit, a joyful and gregarious laugh, and incredible servant, a woman of prayer....a woman of character. Her piano, her harmonica, her Bible, her life...all are cherished. I miss you Gram Gram...see you on the other side. Love, your grandson Ryan

Tom Sweeney
Seattle, WA
Jun 25, 2014

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. I remember speaking with her at your cousin John's funeral some years ago. She was still the the same happy vibrant person I always knew her to be. Your entire family was such a great part of Tukwila and Foster. I especially remember the great summer times living and working on the orchards with Gordy & Ronnie.May God bless and comfort you all.

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