Funeral service for William “Bill” Winthrop McGraw will be at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 26, 2023, at St. Joseph High School Chapel at 1501 VFW Road in Greenville, MS. Visitation will be before that from noon until 1:00 p.m. Burial will be on Friday, September 22, 2023, in Mize, MS. Arrangements are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.
As our local famous writer, William Percy wrote: “With us when you speak of ‘the river’…you always mean the same one. The great river, the shifting unappeasable god of the country, feared and loved the Mississippi.” LANTERNS ON THE LEVEE is an appropriate symbol of William Winthrop McGraw. The actual river wove its way through the life of “Bill” as he was known to his family, his church family at St. Joseph’s, and his school family at St. Joseph’s on Golf Street.
Bill was born in Greenville, MS on February 2, 1945. His parents were Dr. Winthrop Dada McGraw and Tommie Sullivan McGraw. Except for those memorable trips to Montana & Wyoming, educational degrees at Mississippi State, and his service to his country in Korea, the spirit of the River called his name.
Part of the River’s history is centered in New Orleans. Bill and his younger brother Richard would start school there as their dad was there to complete dental school. Through the years the brothers were like twins with each one developing his own gifts and sharing a bond that opened many doors in life. Later the brothers would share family stories and memories in Mize, MS at the site of the Sullivan Farm. Already Bill had developed a passion for outdoor life, nature, and guns. As the River demands respect, Bill’s knowledge and understanding of guns would open the door for his illustrious career in the Army in Korea. He was a decorated hero for military service and defense. People always respected his character and intuitions.
Family members were cherished by Bill and he was quick to brag on their gifts and dedication to their professions. He leaves behind his well-known wife, Rose McGraw, who served in health care many years. From that union, they had two talented daughters Anne (Ricky) and Emily. There are two grandchildren, Hinds McGraw, and Swayze Cooper from the Baton Rouge area, Richard McGraw, brother, and his wife Joyce. Stephanie, David, and Daniel were niece and nephews. Mary, Bill’s sister, preceded him in death. Her husband, Julius Mancini, lives here, and one son, Win.
Family and friends are grateful to all of those who created so many fond memories about and with Bill. In High School, he left a great legacy on the yearbook team, class officer, and was a “rock solid” friend to his class and underclassmen. His love for academics took him to Mississippi State, Delta State, and Southern Miss. Students appreciated his teaching and mentoring at Mississippi Delta Community College. From the soldiers who fought beside him to his talented daughters who continue to share his wisdom in their daily lives, Greenville was a better place because he made a difference.
In listening to colleagues many will share stories about the bond between Richard and his brother. Being like a twin and not a twin had its challenges and gifts. They taught people a bond can encourage the best in two brothers.
It is necessary to also remember how much Bill liked being a dad and granddad. His daughter Anne recalls the many times he would drive them to school, to dancing, and kid projects. As Anne grew up her dad continued to make time for supper and family events. Moreover, it was also important to attend and support Camp Looking Glass with Emily. This camp was very important to him, and Bill continued to support this incredible gift for his daughter and friends.
Many a person is here today because he shared Rose with the nursing community. This Greenville native loved the water, the land, its history, and the people.
Steve Azar, St Joseph friend, has made popular, “And come Sunday mornin’
We profess our Faith
With “Near the Cross”
And its “Amazing Grace”
Now that’s Mississippi.
Richard, his brother in Baton Rouge, and Bill were models for siblings in the Delta. Each being men of character and prayer warriors. Bill’s impact continues to touch lives. All look forward to the day when all loved ones will again be looking down on the city “where Main Street meets the River.”
The family requests memorials be made to Camp Looking Glass, P.O. Box 392, Greenville, MS 38702.