Zachary Morgan “Tony” Graham passed peacefully at home on July 1, 2021. He leaves behind his wife of nearly 71 years, Mary E. Graham and a large and loving family. He was the fifth child and second son of the late John and Iris Graham.
As a small child, his mother would bounce him on her knee and sing “Pony Boy.” Believing she was saying “Tony Boy,” he announced at the age of 3 that he no longer wanted to be called “Zachary,” preferring instead to be her “Tony Boy.” She complied and the name stuck.
He met the former Mary Emly in 1948 when she was working at the A&W Root Beer Stand and he would come in as a tow truck driver. She caught his eye and, countless gallons of root beer later, asked her out. They were married on July 16, 1950, at the First Baptist Church in Urbana, Illinois. Marriage was followed by the births of six children. An energetic and entrepreneurial spirit, he served in the Illinois Army National Guard while raising his growing family. Upon his honorable discharge, he worked in the food sales and brokerage industry while also investing in and developing real estate.
Tony was fun-loving, resilient, and approached life wholeheartedly. In addition to his loving wife, he leaves behind six children: John (Crystal) Graham, Champaign, Illinois; Dan (Jean) Graham, Wauchula, Florida; Eric (Susanna) Graham, St. Charles, Illinois; Ron (Nancy) Graham, Lake Zurich, Illinois; Linda Graham (Bruce Evans), Hamilton, Michigan; Angela Graham (Don Desmett), Kalamazoo, Michigan, 14 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren; his brother Herschel (Pat) Graham, and countless nieces, nephews, and friends.
A celebration of life will be held from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7 at Renner Wikoff Chapel in Urbana, Illinois. A private internment will be held with military honors. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice.