William “Bill” Graff James • May 24, 2019
William “Bill” Graff James, 82, Pensacola, Florida, passed away May 24, 2019.
Bill was born on March 20, 1937 in Frostburg Maryland to the late William and Gladys Davis James. He graduated from Bell Hill High School in 1955.
He married Leila Grace Robinette of Cumberland Maryland on November 24, 1956. Bill and Leila lived in Shelby, Ohio before moving to Pensacola in 1958.
Bill had a career as an Electrical Construction Superintendent, mostly with Baroco Electric Construction Company of Pensacola. He was instrumental in the success of projects including Sacred Heart Hospital, the Pensacola Civic Center, and many other major construction projects in Pensacola and throughout the panhandle area. He was a member of Warrington Presbyterian Church for over 50 years, and enjoyed driving the Church Sunday school bus in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Bill supported his church by donating his time to Church projects; he was also a committed blood donor – recognized as having given over 20 gallons through the years.
After retiring, Bill became active in the West Escambia County Senior Center, where he held several positions including President and leadership on the Food Committee. Bill also supported many election cycles in Escambia by working as a Poll Deputy at voting stations.
Bill and Leila enjoyed traveling in their retirement. They often visited family and friends and saw places of interest from coast to coast, south to the “Southern Most Point” in Key West and west to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. They visited Branson Missouri, the Grand Canyon, Lake Michigan, Niagara Falls, Las Vegas, the Statue of Liberty and Hawaii, as well as many cities where their children lived.
Bill was preceded in death by Leila, his wife of 62 years, as well as his parents.
Bill is survived by his four children and their spouses: Cathy Christie (Neil), Marilyn Irby, Carol Shaw (Rick), Scott James (May); and eight grandchildren and their spouses: Aaron Christie, Amy Dykes (Zach), David and Alison Irby, Chaney and Russley Shaw, Sara and Alan James (Mariya); and Greg Polloi (Sheri and children Mia and Caleb). Bill is also survived by his brother, Larry (Robbie). He will truly be missed by his family, friends and church members.
The family will receive friends for visitation on Saturday, June 1 from 1:00 pm at Pensacola Memorial Gardens Funeral Home. Funeral service will follow at 2:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Warrington Presbyterian Church, 406 S. Navy Blvd, Pensacola, FL, 32507; or to the West Escambia Senior Citizen Center, 904 North 57th Ave, Pensacola, FL 32506 (make checks to “WESCO”).
Our family wants to express our gratitude to the many nurses and caregivers who have been so devoted and kind to Bill during his recent illnesses. Our entire family extends its sincere appreciation to the staff of Broadview Assisted Living and for the care Bill received at home, at Olive Branch and Select Specialty rehabilitation centers, and at Emerald Coast Hospice.