Roy Eugene Graham

August 20, 1936May 29, 2018

Internationally recognized architect and educator, Roy Eugene Graham, FAIA, died after a long struggle with cancer on May 29, 2018, after a stay at the University of Texas Southwestern Hospital in Dallas. He was born August 20th, 1936, in Shreveport, Louisiana, grew up in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and graduated from Louisiana State University in 1961, with a degree in Architectural Engineering. At LSU he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. In 1966, he received a Thomas Jefferson scholarship to attend the University of Virginia, where he received a Master’s Degree in Architectural History in 1968. He later pursued a doctorate in art history at the University of Texas in Austin. Graham was a Captain in the US Army Reserve until 1968, when he began a teaching career at the University of Texas, teaching architectural history and design and developing the first historic preservation courses as part of an advanced design studio. This experience gave him a chance to combine architecture, engineering, history and preservation, which he dedicated himself to for the rest of his life. Tenured in 1969 at UT School of Architecture, he went on leave for a decade to become the Resident Architect of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. In this capacity, he was the overall director of the departments of Architecture, Architectural Research, Landscape Architecture and Planning. He founded the department of Architectural Conservation and served as Administrative Officer of the Foundation. He was appointed a member of the Virginia Landmarks Commission and became active as Vice President of the Association for Preservation Technology (where he served 10 board terms), the Properties committee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Octagon Committee of the AIA and the boards of the Victorian Society in America and the US Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). In 1979, Graham led a team of American preservation experts to the Soviet Union as part of the Nixon-Brezhnev cultural exchange created in 1973 and he was president of the ICOMOS General Assembly in Rome. In 1975, Graham became the first full time director of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Virginia. He returned to Austin in 1982 to begin the restoration of the Texas Capitol and to pursue architectural projects in his own firm. Five years later, he joined the faculty of the Catholic University of America in Washington, where he established an architectural conservation program and began working with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), as well as the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Property of the Church. Projects of note included a conservation plan for the World Heritage Town of Lunenburg, Canada, and an inventory of cultural properties belonging to the Catholic Church in the US. Through ICCROM, he was a consultant on a conservation project at the Taj Mahal and the earthquake damaged St. Francis of Assisi Basilica in Italy. As a spokesman for ICCROM, he participated in meetings and gave talks around the world Including the UK, Spain, Finland, Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania and Latvia. In the latter, he was the US and ICCROM voice in developing the Riga Charter on reconstructing historic sites. He became a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and US/ ICOMOS. In 1991, Graham was awarded a Senior Fulbright Professorship at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, which led to further Fulbright funding in order for him to establish the Consortium for Urban Conservation between Slovenia, ICCROM and CUA. After assisting in its formation, he became a member of the board of the National Center for Preservation Technology, serving as chair and remained active on the board until his death. In 2003, Graham became director of the historic preservation program at the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning. As the Beinecke-Reeves Distinguished Professor, he established a Master’s Degree Program and directed students in the College Doctorate program. His students produced neighborhood conservation plans for a number of historic Florida neighborhoods, as Graham became active on the board of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. That organization awarded him The Carl Weinhardt Lifetime Achievement award in 2011 and named a preservation education award for him in 2014. In 2013, he received the James Marston Fitch Preservation Education Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Alliance of Preservation Educators (NCPE). US/ICOMOS gave Graham the Ann Webster Smith award, their highest honor in international preservation, in Decembe,r 2015.

Roy was preceded in death by his father, Cecil Clare Graham, and his mother, Lise Coffey Graham, of Natchitoches. He is survived by his loving daughters; Heather Cunningham of Plano, TX, and husband James Darrell Cunningham, Elizabeth Graham of Carrollton, TX, and a grandson of whom he was very proud - Garrett Lane Graham of Denton, TX. His surviving siblings, Edward Graham and Cecilia Poissoi,t live in Natchitoches and his brother Stuart Graham lives in Highland Lakes, TX. Graham was a member of the congregation of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Dallas. There will be a Memorial Service held at the Church of the Incarnation located at 3966 McKinney Avenue, Dallas, Texas, 75024, on June 15, 2018, at 11:00am, with a reception to follow. Memorials may be made to the Roy Eugene Graham, FAIA, Student Preservation Award, Historic Preservation Program, College of DCP, 331 Architecture Building, PO Box 115701, Gainesville, FL, 32611-5701, or to the Murtagh-Graham Scholarship at US/ICOMOS. Burial will be private.


  • Memorial Service

    Friday, June 15, 2018


Roy Eugene Graham

have a memory or condolence to add?

Arthur Foster

July 12, 2018

Driving from UVA/Charlottesville to Harrisonburg, VA once in 1965, Roy and I engaged in one of our many ‘what if’ exchanges. I had joined UVA a year before Roy as UVA master planner and Roy was coordinating new UVA campus architecture. We shared our frustration of UVA bureaucracy. Although UVA campus expansion was heady, we had just collaborated on the preservation of a tiny Episcopal chapel in Bremo Bluff, not Taj Mahal that Roy subsequently preserved, but it was our project. Roy had become a partner in a Louisiana architectural firm when he applied for the UVA architectural position, a step-down for Roy. But in Roy’s vision, UVA was the needed start of his long and illustrious academic career. When I moved from the wing of historic UVA’s Morea, I maneuvered Roy’s subsequent occupancy of this historic mansion. The primary Morea occupants were Sir Robert and Dame Menzies, PM of Australia, whom Roy enthralled with his historic Virginia knowledge. About ten years ago in our discussion about establishing a branch of his UF program on a Croatian island where I was involved, I told Roy he was akin to Steve Jobs who, as leaving the Apple stage would pause and say, ‘just one more thing’, unveiling a more dramatic creation. Roy is missed, but what an extraordinary global legacy of so many ‘just one more things.’

Travis Clements

June 29, 2018

Even though I was an architecture student, I knew Prof. Graham more from my time as a Bagel Bakery employee. He was a favorite regular customer and would always great me with a smile. He loved to see my latest work and I loved to ask him if I could borrow his beautiful car. His answer was always "chuckle: No." I will miss him dearly. I'm so happy to have known him.

Matt Demers

June 9, 2018

Roy was one of my favorite people. I got to travel internationally for the first time because of Roy and a last-minute opening he had in a summer urban preservation colloquium. We travelled around Mexico with government preservationists and students and faculty from universities in Mexico the US and Canada. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

I stayed close to and worked with Roy for the next few years as I started my PhD research. He was such a warm and truly fun person to be around. He was immensely generous and nurturing as an educator and professional, always finding ways to spread opportunities around to anyone who was hungry for them.

I’m smiling now as I remember the time spent with him. I hope someday to get a chance to teach and follow the example he set.

Drinking to you tonight Roy. Godspeed.

Carolyn Nathan

June 9, 2018

He was alovely man and a great neighbor. My thoughts are with you all

Chris Papazian

June 8, 2018

My husband and I were delighted when Roy decided to make 3525 his home when he moved from Florida. We were all so fortunate to have this celebrated, recognized architect as our neighbor and friend. His wealth of knowledge, friendliness, and generous nature contributed to the building and to our friendship. It was a privilege to have known him.
With love, Chris Papazian

J Williams

June 6, 2018

I am so sorry to hear of the your loss. Death is truly an enemy. (1 Cor 15:26) However, this verse contains the hope that we all look forward to when this enemy “will be brought to nothing.” Until that time, be assured that your pain is shared by many, including God, who makes the promise to “swallow up death in victory”. (Isaiah 25:8) May this hope comfort you in your time of grief