Cover photo for Thomas C. Graves's Obituary
1935 Thomas C. Graves 2023

Thomas C. Graves

July 15, 1935 — October 17, 2023

Grandview, Missouri

Thomas C. Graves, known to friends and loved ones as Tom, passed away on October 17, 2023, at the age of 88 in Leawood, Kansas. He was born on July 15, 1935, to Chester and Cleo Graves in his beloved hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.  Being raised with his sister Mary, Tom led an exceptional life filled with accomplishments, passions, and a deep devotion to his family and community.

From an early age, it was evident that Tom possessed a keen intellect and an unwavering dedication to learning. He studied history at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, where he received his bachelors of arts degree in 1957. Continuing his pursuit of knowledge and understanding, he went on to graduate from the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law in 1960.

Tom's career path led him to become an esteemed employee benefits attorney. From 1964 to 1975, he served as an employee benefits trust officer for the First National Bank of Kansas City. His expertise then led him to Meidinger employee benefits consulting firm (later known as Mercer) where he worked diligently from 1975 to 1984. Tom's legal acumen and passion for his field propelled him to achieve great heights throughout his career. He became man of counsel or partner at the prestigious Morrison & Hecker law firm from 1984 to 2002. In recognition of his contributions and invaluable expertise, he was appointed Vice-Chair of the Employee Benefits Practice Division during his tenure with Stinson Morrison & Hecker law firm from 2002 to 2007.

Undeterred by retirement, Tom continued practicing employee benefits law as a shareholder for Haynes Benefits PC from 2007 until 2017 when he retired. His dedication to his craft and commitment to serving others extended beyond national borders; he was actively involved in various employee benefit organizations such as the American Benefits Council and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists. Moreover, Tom was a member of the Missouri Bar, providing services to the Missouri Bar Staff retirement plans for an impressive thirty years.

Tom's devotion to his country was evident through his service in the U.S. Army Reserve. He served from 1960 to 1987 in the esteemed Judge Advocate General's Corp, achieving the rank of Colonel before retiring. His military career embodies the values he held dear—honor, loyalty, and a deep sense of duty.

Outside of his professional life, Tom found great joy and fulfillment in various pursuits and hobbies. He shared a love for dancing with his beloved wife Fran, as they frequented dancing events in square and ballroom dancing together for many years. In his youth, he enjoyed running and tennis, always striving to stay active and healthy. He could be found reading the Wall Street Journal, watching the Kansas City Chiefs or Kansas Basketball, or lending a helping hand at his local church through volunteering efforts. 

However, above all else, Tom's greatest source of happiness was his family. A devoted husband to Frances Graves and loving father to Karen and husband Mike McCollough and Jim Graves, he cherished every moment spent with them. Tom took immense pride in being a doting grandfather to Jesse Claypool and Peyton and her husband Holden Petitt; their presence brought him boundless joy.

Tom left behind lasting impressions on all who had the privilege of knowing him. His kindness knew no bounds; he possessed a loyal nature that endeared him to friends and family alike. With an unwavering positivity and generous spirit, he enriched the lives of those around him. Tom was known for his strength, both physical and moral, which he exemplified throughout his life's journey.

Among Tom's proudest accomplishments were his contributions to the Diocese of West Missouri, where he served as treasurer for numerous years. He was also actively involved as a member of St Peter & All Saints Episcopal Church for an extended period. His unwavering commitment to his faith and the well-being of others was a testament to his character.

On October 23, 2023, friends and loved ones will gather to bid farewell to Tom at Longview Funeral Home in Kansas City, Missouri. Visitation will take place from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, followed by the funeral service at 11:00 AM. Later that day, a graveside service will be held at Longview Cemetery, where Tom's earthly remains will find eternal rest.

Tom leaves behind a legacy of love, dedication, and perseverance. His memory will forever live on in the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to have crossed paths with him. As we celebrate his life, let us carry forward the values he held dear—kindness, loyalty, and an unwavering love for family.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to St. Peter & All Saints Episcopal Church, 100 E Red Bridge Rd, Kansas City, MO 64114, or online at https://www.paypal.com/donate/cmd=_sxclick&hosted_button_id=26LNVNJAVLPCU&source=url&ssrt=1697663574708 an organization close to Tom's heart. The impact he made during his time on earth will continue to resonate long after his passing. Let us remember and honor Thomas C. Graves as a remarkable man whose presence enriched our lives and whose spirit will forever inspire us.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas C. Graves, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Monday, October 23, 0023

12:00 - 12:15 pm (Central time)

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Visitation

Monday, October 23, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Monday, October 23, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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