Stacey L. Graham was born on Dec. 3, 1967, in Tifton, Ga., to David Graham (deceased 1979) and Louise Barnes (deceased 1981).
After his mother Louise died, his grandmother Rosa Byron raised him from the age of 14. He graduated high school in 1988 and the following year, at 19, Stacey enlisted in the Navy in August 1989.
He went to MEPS and got sworn in at Atlanta, Ga., and went to boot camp in Orlando, Fla. In 1990, he was sent to NATTC “A” school In Millington, Tenn., where he gained his rating. During his military career with the Navy, Stacey did two tours in Afghanistan, where he was a part of Operation Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.
He had the chance to travel all over the world, from Iraq to Dubai, Saudi Arabia and the Orient. He went on deployments that took him away from his family months at a time. He was with the aircraft carrier strike group USS Kennedy, USS Nimitz and USS Lincoln.
Stacey was in the Philippines helping with humanitarian relief efforts when Mount Pinatubo erupted. He changed his designation from an aviation electrician to aviation ordinance. Stacey was stationed here at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island with VAQ-129, the Vikings, and a training squadron, where he was a LINE LPO.
He then transferred to VAQ-133, The Wizards, until he retired with an honorable discharge in December 2009, after 20 years of military service. He was a first class, designated as AO1 (AW) Stacey L. Graham.
In between his military service, Stacey met a young woman named Joena, at a KFC drive thru. He became smitten and pursued her. They got married on June 8, 1992. They would have celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary 11 days from the day he passed away.
Together, they had three children: son Stacey Jr., daughter Rahsanna and son Edwin. Upon his retirement, Stacey decided to become a stay-at-home dad and took care of his younger son, Edwin, full time.
He kept himself busy with projects at home. He became known as a renaissance man, master of none. He liked to go thrift store shopping, always looking for good deals and bargains. If he wasn’t doing things outside of the house like grocery shopping, paying bills or carpooling, he enjoyed being at home watching his favorite TV programs like “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Quantico” and “Swamp People.”
He was a movie buff and a sci-fi fan. He also loved to cook for his family; he was big on throwing down a BBQ. Stacey made sure that he and Edwin did things together to forge a strong bond between them, something he didn’t get to do much of with his older son due to a rigorous work schedule and being gone on deployments.
He became involved in helping with practices for T-ball and driving Edwin to all his games and Junior League bowling. He enjoyed bowling as much as Edwin, so he also signed up for the Monday night league with Joena. Stacey passed away on May 28, just 15 days before his daughter Rahsanna’s high school graduation.
Stacey is survived by his wife Joena, son Stacey Jr., daughter Rahsanna and son Edwin; granddaughters Adriana and Ava; father-in-law Larry Johnston, mother-in-law Susana Johnston, brother-in-law David Johnston, niece Julianna Wilson, brother-in-law Chris Johnston and nieces Leighandrea, Sapphira and Jessalyn.
He is also survived by his siblings and their families, brother Johnny “Ray” Little and sister-in-law Joyce; sister Mary Kelly, nephew Javis Barnes, nephew Brian Kelly, niece Sasha, niece Nikita Kelly and her two boys Dettorian and Dyson Kelly; and brother David Graham, niece Taylor Graham, niece Kennedy Graham and nephew Trevor Graham.
He is further survived by siblings Shirley Jackson of Vero Beach, Fla., Tonya Pitts Minter of Ellenwood, Ga., Alicia Pitts of Atlanta, Ga., Willie Mae Pitts Johnson of Tifton, Ga., Lorraine Pitts of Riverdale, Ga., Yvette Pitts of Atlanta, Ga., Willie A. Pitts of East Point, Ga., and Tyrone Pitts of East Point, Ga., as well as by two very close cousins, Estelle Gains and Cathy Pitts Collins. He also leaves behind many, many friends from across the United States.
A visitation was held on Friday, June 2, at Wallin Funeral Home, Oak Harbor. A memorial service followed the next day, Saturday, June 3, at Mission Ministry Outreach, also in Oak Harbor.
In Georgia, a funeral service took place Saturday, June 17, at Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, 146 Ty Ty Sycamore Road, Ty Ty, GA. A repast followed at Leroy Rogers Senior Center, 315 2nd St. West, Tifton, GA.
Arrangements are entrusted to Wallin Funeral Home, Oak Harbor, and Frank and Solomon Nixon Funeral Home, Tifton, Ga. Please visit Stacey’s page in the Book of Memories online at www.wallinfuneralhome.com and Frank and Solomon Nixon Funeral Home obituary pages online at www.rscr.com to share memories and leave condolences.