Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ethel Mae Graves, 78, of Newport News

Ethel Mae Graves (Whiting’s Funeral Home)

Ethel Mae Graves was born on July 11, 1945, the only child of the late Johnnie and Ethel Sue Watts, in Exmore, Virginia. She lived a blessed long life until she was called home to the Lord on May 5, 2024, at Riverside Regional Medical Center.

Ethel was educated through the Northampton County Public Schools system and graduated from Northampton High School. After high school, she married her high-school sweetheart, Thomas George Graves. “Mae” as she was affectionately known, was a strong, dedicated, and supportive wife for over fifty-five years of marriage. She raised their two sons, Marcus and Jason. Family mattered the most to her.

She was submerged into the Army life through her husband, visiting many places like Alabama, Texas, Maryland, California, Hawaii, the Panama Canal Zone, and other overseas destinations, until the family settled in Virginia. She met new friends along the journey and forged valuable lifelong friendships.

Mae cared deeply for her family, friends, and neighbors, not out of obligation but because of who she was. She had a godly spirit and was always the first to offer help, regularly letting her family, friends, and neighbors know she was there for them. Everyone who knew her could find no fault in her. Mae was a compassionate soul who always put others before herself with her warm smile and kind words to brighten the lives of everyone around her.

Ethel had many passions in life but ceramics was her niche as she would make many different ceramic items (for herself and friends). Later, she volunteered and worked for an elementary school before retiring early into the later life of photography which became her lasting passion. Her photos would capture every important moment of each special event like church events, weddings, parties, baby showers, etc. that led to beautiful memories for her friends that she took pictures of. Her work was second to none.

She beat Breast cancer and while dealing with Pancreatic Cancer she maintained her beautiful spirit until the end. She always had a smile on her face regardless, no matter what she was going through, always letting everyone know that “God got it.”

Mae was preceded in death by her parents and her husband Thomas Graves. She is survived by her two sons, Marcus Graves (Jacqueline) and Jason Graves (Claudia); grandchildren, Austin Graves, Ariyah Graves, and Fred Nicholas; sister-in-law Beverly Davis of Painter, Virginia; and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, and many friends around the world.

We thank all her care providers, Dr. Flavia Kostov (Riverside Cancer doctor), Martha Jones (her nurse’s aide), Thelma Dobbs (neighbor), and the Riverside Home Health Aides Team from Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, Va.

A service to celebrate her life will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, May 13, 2024, at Colossians Baptist Church, with Rev. Dr. Peter A. Evans officiating. Live streaming will be available at the beginning of the service. Interment at Albert G. Horton Jr Memorial Veterans Cemetery will take place at a later date. Mrs. Graves may be viewed on Monday from 10 a.m. until the hour of her service in the church.

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