David E. Graden, 77, of Coalton, died Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at his residence, with his wife and children by his side, along with grandchildren and extended family and friends in attendance.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 15, at 11 a.m. at The First Baptist Church of Nokomis. Burial will be held in Craig Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the church. Stiehl Dawson Funeral Home in Nokomis is assisting the family.
He was the son, grandson and great-grandson of farmers who had lived in Audubon Township since 1856. He was born July 4, 1943, to Gilbert and Louise (Davis) Graden in Hillsboro. He was their third son and enjoyed a full childhood on the farm with his three brothers, Jerry, Denny and Chuck. He graduated from Nokomis High School in 1961, where he played football and held the school record for most single tackles in a game for two years before his brother Chuck broke his record. He also earned numerous ribbons and trophies in competition with his horse Whistling Curt. He attended SIU in Carbondale and managed many of the livestock programs there while earning a degree in agriculture.
While attending SIU, he met his wife, Janet Yarbrough on the day JFK was assassinated. Their adventure together began, and they married on a very hot day on July 16, 1966, at First Baptist Church in Nokomis, and enjoyed nearly 55 years as partners in life.
He loved his family, and loved to tell stories and jokes, as well as sing and listen to country songs, and followed politics and Cardinal baseball closely. He enjoyed camping trips, fishing, hunting, vacations and playing cards with his children, grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He is fondly remembered as “Uncle Dave” and each have a story where he helped them and taught them something about life.
Mr. Graden held many jobs and vocations over the years including farming, livestock manager, county extension, insurance broker, seed salesman, fifth grade teacher, coach and a meat inspector for the State of Illinois. Most of all, he had an abiding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and he was looking forward to the day of his death as it meant he would then be in the presence of his Savior.
He is survived by three children, , Julia and Donald Arndt of Collinsville, Jeannine Graden of Phoenix, AZ, and Andrew and Tami Graden of Nokomis; grandchildren, Shon Graden, Merissa and Eric Smay, Ezekiel, Grace, and Nehemiah Arndt, and Owen Foster, Natalie and William Graden. He also loved Sophia Brookshire, and was the great-grandfather to Robert, Eragon and Atreyu Smay with a great-granddaughter expected in September.
He was preceded in death by his son, Harrison John “Skip” Graden of Nokomis.
Memorials are suggested in lieu of flowers and may be made to First Baptist Church or Nokomis Quarterback Club.
Online condolences may be left at www.stiehldawsonfh.com.