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Donald Graham, 72

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Donald "Don" A. Graham, 72, Vermillion, SD, died February 16, 2009 at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, SD.

Don was born March 31, 1936 to Alexander and Cora (Frazier) Graham and grew up in the south bottoms part of Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from the Flandreau Indian School in 1954 and went on to serve 11 years in the United States Air Force. He worked in the construction industry as an electrician and he also worked at the Goodwill Industries for many years in Sioux City, Iowa where he met his wife of 37 years, Betsy. For the last 20 years of his working life, he was employed by the Indian Health Service as director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs for the Aberdeen area office. He retired in 2004 and moved to Vermillion, SD to be closer to family. Don was a member of the American Legion in Aberdeen, SD and a member of the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska.

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Don loved to spend time with family and friends. He enjoyed traveling and dancing at powwows and taking care of his pet dogs. He also enjoyed attending family reunions. He was blessed with a career that allowed him and Betsy to experience other parts of the country, including Portland, OR, Phoenix, AZ and Alexandria. He particularly enjoyed the 10 years in Alexandria, where family and friends became an even more important part of his life. Family gatherings at Rudy and Norma Nelson's home were always memorable events.

His memory will be cherished by his wife, Betsy Graham of Vermillion; stepson, Neale "Buster" (Mary) Towner of Sioux City, IA; sons, John (Terri) Graham of Nashville, TN, Joe (Barb) Graham of Minneapolis, Eric Graham of Cambridge, and Anthony (Mecia) Graham of Vermillion, SD; daughter, JoAnne (Mike) Kyle of Sioux City, IA; and stepdaughter, Rhonda (Philip) McConnell of Munford, TN; cousins, Duane Mackey of Vermillion and Clement "Tuffy" Mackey of Santee, NE; 25 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

Don was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Charles "Buzz" and Robert "Toby;" and sister, Louise.

Funeral services were held Thursday, February 19 at Oyate Oyanke Community Center in Santee, Nebraska. Burial was at Congregational Cemetery in Santee with military graveside rites by the Niobrara VFW Post #4834 and American Legion Post #224.

Arrangements are in care of Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home and Crematory, Yankton, SD.

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