Ted Alan Graves passed away on June 24, 2019, of respiratory failure after a courageous battle with cancer, surrounded by his family. Ted Graves was born in Fairfax, Missouri, on August 19, 1961, the son of Maurice Lee Graves and Margaret Hannah (Bowness) Graves of Fairfax. He attended Fairfax R-3 High School and was senior class president, valedictorian, and student body president as well as a three-sport letterman. Notably, in 1979 he was state champion in the discus. He then attended William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, where he was a two-sport letterman in football and track and field. He was a member of the 1982 team that was runner up in the NAIA National Football Championship, and he was a member of three football teams inducted into the William Jewell Hall of Fame. He was member of Sigma Nu Fraternity and graduated with a degree in physical education and history in 1984. He would go on to complete his formal education with a Masters of Education from Park University.
He taught and coached for 29 years in secondary education starting in Cabool, Missouri, before taking a position with the Kearney School District. He coached multiple sports including football and girl’s basketball. He was the head track coach in Kearney where his teams won six district titles. He finished his high school coaching career at Liberty North High School where he built the track and field program from the ground up and won his seventh district title.
Graves returned to William Jewell in the late 1980s as a volunteer track and field coach before serving as an assistant coach in the late 1990s. He came back to the football field in 2002 where he served as an assistant coach. In 2004 he was named head coach of the Cardinal Track and Field program, a position he held through the 2009 season. He had more than 30 national qualifiers and 20 individual conference champions. During his more than 30 years of coaching he helped mentor both high school and college athletes to achieve their potential in sports and successful professional careers. Graves also had the privilege of coaching his daughter Meredith during her career at William Jewell.
After retiring from teaching and coaching Graves was elected Clay County Treasurer in 2012 and served until his death.
Ted raised his family in Clay County. He was married to Juliann (Julie) Williams of Liberty, Missouri, in 1986. He had two daughters, Rachel and Meredith (Trevor Shepherd). His family was always his first priority. Graves has left his mark through his numerous contributions to his family, students, athletes, and community.
He was preceded in death by his father, Maurice Graves. He is survived by his wife, daughters and son-in-law; his mother, Margaret Graves of Maryville, Missouri; his sisters, Joyce Bruna (Duane) of Hanover, Kansas, and Rosalie Graves (Christopher Wallace) of Maryville; his father and mother-in-law, Bob and Virginia Williams of Liberty, Missouri; brother-in-law Rob Williams (Tena) Liberty; and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to LPS/LN Track, Memo: Ted Graves, 8 Victory Lane, Liberty, MO 64068 or Parkville Shelter, P.O. Box 29121, Parkville, MO 64152, parkvilleshelter.com/tribute-or-memorial-donation.
A celebration of Graves’ life was held Friday, June 28, 2019, at Heritage Hall in Liberty, Missouri.