Cover photo for William L. Graham's Obituary
William L. Graham Profile Photo

William L. Graham

October 20, 1948 — April 9, 2024

William L. Graham

William L. Graham, a compassionate and larger-than-life individual, passed away on April 9, 2024, in Wichita, Kansas. Born on October 20, 1948, in Wichita, Bill's presence in the lives of those around him was nothing short of remarkable.
After graduating from Southeast High School in Wichita in 1967, Bill pursued higher education at Denver University and graduated with a BA in Psychology in 1971. His career path led him back to Wichita, where he dedicated years to the family business at William Graham Inc. He also delved into investments and management within the oil industry through William Graham Oil Company. Bill's entrepreneurial spirit shone through as he founded American Water Purification Inc., a company specializing in commercial ozone water cleaning systems for the poultry industry.
Beyond the realms of business, Bill treasured his time with family above all else. Bill always had a smile that welcomed people. He always thought and lived life outside the box. Life was always fun when he was around. “Bill was bigger than life” according to his brother-in-law. When the children were young, and the annual Joyland school party came around he did not buy tickets at the front gate. He went to the Joyland office and bought giant rolls of tickets. He was the pied piper for always having extra tickets for all the kids. He used one of the ozone machines to purify the swimming pool water so fish could be in the pool ready for any fishermen or kids that were coming to a party. Kids also loved swimming with the fish in the pool. He taught hundreds of kids and adults to fish and shoot a gun safely at the farm in east of Augusta, KS. Visiting the farm also included gathering chicken and duck eggs, driving golf carts and 4 wheelers, swimming in the pond, catching turtles, racoons, coyotes and armadillos. He would buy 1,800 lb of corn at a time to feed the ducks. Bill had a commercial fireworks license for many years and prided himself with building a spectacular July 4th fireworks show every year. He installed the shooting pipes and shells originally at Hidden Lakes Golf Course in Derby. Later it was moved to the farm east of Augusta.

His festive spirit was contagious, especially during Christmas when his home transformed into a winter wonderland with elaborate decorations that drew admiration from all who passed by. Christmas included 18’ Christmas trees inside the house, fourteen thousand exterior Christmas twinkling lights on the house and two commercial music boxes with singing and dancing reindeer and snowmen in the front yard. He was known as “Mr. Lights.” The TV stations all featured him with an interview and pictures.

Fond memories were created not just within his family but also within the community as neighborhood kids joined forces to raise funds for the Wichita Children’s Home under Bill's guidance. One year the kids decided they should have hot chocolate stand cookies for sale and give their money to the Wichita Children’s Home. With the proceeds, $2,500 was donated to the children at the children’s home. The Children’s Home in turn purchased a large screen TV and a year’s video subscription to a rental store.

A man of generosity and kindness, Bill welcomed groups of Wounded Warriors from Ft. Carson every year to his farm, providing them with an opportunity to unwind during deer season. His compassion extended to teaching hundreds of children and adults how to fish and handle firearms safely. The farm became a hub of excitement with activities like gathering eggs, swimming in the pond among fish, and even wildlife encounters.
Bill's legacy goes beyond his professional endeavors; it lies in the joy he brought to others through simple acts of kindness and unforgettable experiences shared with loved ones.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, William L. and Marjorie March Graham; sister, Marjorie Stevens; and wife, Sara Elizabeth Hills Graham. 
He is survived by his loving wife, Nancy Graham; cherished son, Bill (Amy Heitt) Graham; beloved daughter, Susan (Jason Daves) Graham; adored grandchildren Paige Graham, Jane Graham, and Nathan Graham; along with siblings Rebecca Dorian, Connie Culley, Ted Graham, and Jack Graham.
While Bill may have departed from this world physically, his spirit lives on through the memories he created and the lives he touched profoundly. May his light continue to shine bright in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him.

Memorials have been established with:
(Rescues Americans in crisis zones worldwide)

Eastminster Presbyterian Church
1958 N. Webb Road
Wichita, KS 67206

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Graham, Bill Flower Photos.pdf

Past Services

Visitation with family and friends

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

Eastminster Presbyterian Church

1958 N Webb Rd, Wichita, KS 67206

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