Bernell (Nell) Graves, 86, of Livermore, Calif., passed away peacefully on Dec. 27, 2011, in Livermore with her daughters by her side. She was born in Bokoshe on Dec. 22, 1925, the third and youngest daughter of Ada Belle (Martin) and William Edward Mason. Her father owned Mason Feed and General Store, where she worked while attending school in Bokoshe. Her father sold the business in 1942 and the family moved to Poteau, where she finished high school.
She married Jack Hancock on Oct 16, 1946, and they had two daughters, Gloria and Rebecca, from their union. Jack was killed in combat in the Korean War on Dec 15, 1951. Sadly, she received the telegram notifying her of his death on her birthday. Widowed at 25 years of age with two young daughters to raise, Nell attended Dental Hygienist School then worked as a dental assistant in Poteau for six years while raising her daughters. She became a member of a Professional Women’s Association during this time, a testament of achievement for her in the 1950s.
She married Cleve Graves on Dec. 20, 1958, and they moved the family to San Jose, Calif. They had two sons (Charles and Matthew) from their union. She was primarily a homemaker for the next 15 years. She then went back to work as a sales clerk in Women’s Apparel at J.C. Penney in San Jose and then for Woman’s World for 10 years, where she retired as store manager.
She and her husband moved from San Jose to Carson City, Nev., in 1991 for their retirement. They shared 10 happy years of retirement there. Sadly, Cleve passed away in July 2001. She moved to Livermore in 2005 to be closer to her daughters after developing health problems. She resided at “A Home of Our Own” (an assisted living facility) in Livermore for the last two years, where she received compassionate care during her declining health stages.
Nell was a woman of beauty and grace. Quiet and dignified, she never wanted to draw attention to herself. She loved her children and was especially fond of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and their accomplishments.
She is survived by two daughters and son-in-law, Gloria Guzman and Rebecca and Perry Levey, Livermore; two sons and daughters-in-law, Charles and Fran Graves, Sparks, Nev., and Matthew and Stephanie Graves, Brooklyn, N.Y.; seven grandchildren, Larisa and James Bonola, Cibolo, Texas, Jason and Dana Guzman, Cameron Park, Calif., Ashley and Steven Gondorcin, Denver, Colo., David Graves, Vancouver, Wash., Jonathan, Jessica, and Jordan Graves, Brooklyn; four great-grandchildren, Rebecca and Savanna Bonola, and Ethan and Noah Guzman; two nephews, Paul Braun, Sacramento, Calif., and Vernon McCurdy, Oklahoma City; two nieces, Ina McCurdy, Oklahoma City, and Virginia Vance, Tulsa.
She was preceded in death by husbands Jack Hancock and Cleve Graves, her parents, three sisters, Linnie McCurdy, Gladys Sutton and Edith Braun, and one infant grandson, Mark Hidalgo.
Our family is grateful to Nell’s caregivers at “A Home of Our Own,” who became part of our family, for their loving and compassionate care of our mother. She was very happy living there and with the care she received. We also appreciate the compassionate care extended by the nurses from Hope Hospice for their support during her last days.
A memorial service will be held at Walton’s Chapel of the Valley, Carson City, on Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. Inurnment to follow at Walton Carson Gardens, Carson City, Nev.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Hope Hospice, 6377 Clark Ave., Ste. 100, Dublin, Calif. 94568 (www.HopeHospice.com ). Condolences may be sent to 966 Kern Ct., Livermore, Calif. 94551.
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