John Arthur Graves
August 14, 1941 – January 16, 2021
John Arthur Graves passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 16 at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. At 79, John worked at a pace of many half his age, ever chasing one more win. Strong, visionary and always teaching, “JAG’s” legacy will loom as large as his once-commanding presence. Born in Baton Rouge in 1941, John Graves moved to Opelousas graduating from AIC, now Opelousas Catholic, where he was involved with Student Government, played football and basketball and ran track until suffering a back injury that would continually haunt him, but it was the death of his father while he was in high school that would deepen his resolve and shape John’s life. John Graves rose from humble beginnings - working full-time while in school, including as a rodman surveying the Bonnet Carre Spillway. John graduated LSU with a BS in Civil Engineering and joined Edward E. Evans & Associates in May 1965, the same month his wife Cynthia gave birth to their first of five children. Believing in a well-rounded education, John continued his post-graduate studies in business at LSU, then worked with the College of Engineering to create more well-rounded students. John had great admiration for Mr. Evans, and it seems the feeling was mutual as Mr. Evans placed John in charge of the firms’ operations at the age of 29 and in 1986 sold to John what would become Evans-Graves Engineers. Today it is virtually impossible to travel through south Louisiana without seeing John Graves’ impact - from the Maravich Assembly Center and neighborhoods across Baton Rouge including Country Club of Louisiana to the John J Audubon Bridge, from Cortana Mall to the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, as his influence on the landscape endures. John Graves’ legacy continues in the engineering community, as there is a “tree” of former Evans-Graves Engineers populating many of south Louisiana’s top firms. Of all of his projects, John’s greatest achievement was the levee rebuild following Hurricane Katrina, the largest Civil Works Program in US history, his scope that was completed on time time and under budget under John’s direction. He published The Fortress Of New Orleans documenting the project. John supported the causes for which he felt strongly - most recently serving on the boards of the LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, including eight years as Chair, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, B1Bank and St. Joseph’s Academy as well as a parishioner at Our Lady of Mercy. Not always serious, John relished his time in the Baton Rouge Roundtable where he served as President, riding with the Krewe of Bacchus and commingling at the City Club of Baton Rouge. John loved LSU and was proud to have been inducted into both the LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering (2009) and LSU College of Engineering (2016) Halls of Distinction. John Graves’ legacy lives not only in the Louisiana landscape, but also in his family as his children have gone to enjoy success in their own rights in business, medicine and politics. While JAG was always more challenging to his own children, he was extremely proud of each always introducing them to clients and friends. JAG loved family gatherings - employing Christmas, Mardi Gras, LSU football and any other excuse for food - particularly desserts - wine and fun. John Graves is survived by his wife of 56 years, Cynthia Sliman Graves, five children and nine grandchildren: Angelle Graves Hamilton and her husband Art, of Atlanta, Dr. Kurt Graves and his wife Alysia, Ashlyn Graves White and her husband Randy of New Orleans, Congressman Garret Graves and his wife Carissa and Katelin Graves Walker and her husband Lee of Memphis, and his sister Patricia Graves Gray and her husband Chuck of Houston. Grandchildren include Madelyn Graves, Conner Graves, Reily Hamilton, Ralston Graves, Graves Hamilton, Kadence Walker, Calla Graves, Lena Mathile Walker and Kulshan Graves. He was preceded in death by his mother Lena Courville Graves and his father William Roscoe Graves who graciously prepare for his arrival. To our Evans-Graves family, we are ever-grateful for your commitment, love and support in helping establish JAG’s great legacy. We are also appreciative of the doctors and nurses at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital who provided excellent care to John in his final days. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Our Lady of Mercy Church, 445 Marquette Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70806, Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808 or LSU Foundation - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. There will be a Celebration of Life on Thursday, January 21 at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church at 10:30am, preceded by visitation at 9am. The service will also be live-streamed on Our Lady of Mercy’s Facebook page.
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Thursday, January 21, 2021
John Arthur Graves
January 18, 2021
Ms Cynthia and Family,
May the sadness and pain felt with the earthly loss of John be eased and overshadowed by the joy of his heavenly reward. One only needs to look at his overwhelming accomplishments to know that he was a well respected Master of his craft and leaves a long and lasting legacy and pride for his family.