Roy Arthur Graham

Roy Arthur Graham, 80, of Staunton, passed away Thursday, June 18, 2020 at Heritage Manor in Gillespie, of natural causes.

Roy was born to Roy K. and Zura A. Graham (née Benson) in Granite City, Sept. 28, 1939.

He graduated from Granite City High School in 1957. Following high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1962 and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves, in which he served six years. In 1964, he earned a master’s degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and joined the faculty of Blackburn College in Carlinville as a professor of English. Roy was passionate about helping his students grow and succeed and cared deeply about the college to which he dedicated his career. During his 50-year tenure he developed many challenging new courses and served as Department Chair and College Marshall. He retired from Blackburn in April 2014.

Throughout his life, Roy maintained a sense of curiosity and adventure. His interests and talents were broad and varied, ranging from the musical–he played trumpet and sang with the Blackburn choir–to sports such as league bowling and golf. He was a lifelong outdoorsman who enjoyed tournament fishing, bird-watching and gardening, but also had a keen interest and appreciation for theatre and art.

He is survived by three adult children, Carole Graham of Cortez, Colo.; Geoffrey Graham of Black Canyon City, Ariz.; and Roberta Graham of Anchorage, Alaska; his sister Judith McNeilly of Highland; and his granddaughter Gillian Story, of Cortez, Colo.; as well as by many nieces, nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in support of Blackburn College, a four-year liberal arts work college, founded in 1837. Information about donating to Blackburn can be found online at

Funeral and burial were private.