Dr. W. Graham “Grammy” Stephens, 88, of Troutville, went to be with the Lord on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Graham was born in Detroit, Mich., March 31, 1928. He was the son of the late Wallace T. and Nan Watkins Howison Stephens. In addition to his parents, Graham was preceded in death by brother John Bruce Stephens.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Thelma Lenz Stephens of Troutville; his sons, Graham and wife Trina of Roanoke and Bruce of Troutville; daughter, Mary S. DePuy and husband Craig of Winston-Salem, N.C., along with grandsons Luis DePuy and John DePuy, and nephew Jeff Stephens and wife, Julie and their daughter, Paige.
Graham graduated from Luray High School in 1945 and Hampden-Sydney College, magna cum laude, in 1949, followed by University of Tennessee School of Medicine, Memphis, Tenn. Graham met Thelma in chemistry class while they were students at the UT medical units in Memphis. He gallantly volunteered to give blood for a series of tests which Thelma, a student Medical Technologist, would draw. Pretty good pick up line! Graham liked to say he received his MD and his MRS when he graduated and married Thelma in 1953. From there the couple went to an internship at MCV in Richmond, and then to a surgical residency in Knoxville, Tenn. at St. Mary’s Memorial Hospital. The USAF interrupted that and in January they were on to Kinross AFB in Sault St. Marie, Minn.
Graham served as Captain USAF General Medical Officer from 1955-1957. After his military service, Graham joined a family practice in Boones Mill, followed by a family practice in Troutville from 1958-1968. “Doc Grammy” was well known for his compassionate and caring medical care, which included many house calls over the years.
Graham’s medical career changed course in 1968 as he joined, with four other doctors, to found the emergency room group at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. He remained with the group for over 35 years. His passion for, and expertise in, emergency medical care grew as he became, in 1981, one of only eight Virginia physicians to be boarded in Emergency Medicine, and the first doctor to achieve this status in Southwest Virginia. He proudly held this Emergency Medicine certification through 2011.
In addition to medicine, Graham had a passion for Scouting. His enthusiasm for the outdoors was developed at an early age. Throughout his youth, Graham had many outdoor adventures while his Shenandoah National Park Ranger father was stationed in the Luray area. He became a Boy Scout in 1940 in Luray, VA. In 1968 Graham rejoined the Scouting movement when his sons, Graham and Bruce, joined Troop 157, sponsored by Troutville Church of the Brethren. Dr. Stephens then served as Scoutmaster or Committee Chair for the next 25 years. Graham loved Philmont National Scout Camp so much he attended twice on the trails with his sons. More recently Graham returned with Thelma, Mary, Craig, and his grandsons, Luis and John to share the Philmont experience with another family generation.
As an enthusiastic Scout, Graham has volunteered at many levels of scouting over the years. Dr. Stephens was the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation Physician for 15 years and successfully orchestrated fund raising within the medical community for the new Camp Powhatan Health Lodge. He was very involved in Woodbadge as Area 8 coordinator and served on staff for many Woodbadge courses. He held multiple positions in the Blue Ridge Mountains Council as well as serving on the Scouting Regional Board in a variety of capacities. Graham attended seven National Jamborees and two World Jamborees. He received many Scouting accolades over the years, including Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, Vigil Honor Order of the Arrow, and the Protestant Religious Award.
After retirement, Dr. Stephens continued to work actively with a medical mission group, International Medical Assistance Corporation. He made multiple trips to Honduras over the years, sharing both his love of medicine and Christ. He was a founder and board member of Casa Latina.
Graham was a member of Troutville Church of the Brethren, where he served on the Stewards Commission as well having been Scoutmaster for many years.
A celebration of Graham’s life was held at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 26 at Troutville Church of the Brethren, 5133 Lee Highway, Troutville with Pastor Terry Johnson and Pastor Daniel D’Oleo officiating. Graham’s family received friends Friday, 2-4 and 6-8 pm at Rader Funeral Home, Daleville.
Memorial contributions may be made to Troutville Church of the Brethren, P.O. Box 156, Troutville, 24175, or to Scout Reach in Blue Ridge Mountains Council, Boy Scouts of America, P.O. Box 7606, Roanoke, 24019.
On-line condolences may be made to Graham’s family at www.rader-funeralhome.com.
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