Known to family and friends as a jovial guy with a bushy beard and big heart, Jonathan Michael Graham died July 4, 2011 in a single-vehicle accident in Haines. He was 21.
Jon was born in Madison, Wis., on June 20, 1990. He grew up in Janesville, Wis., until his family moved to Haines in 2004.
His mother, Yvette, described her younger son as a prankster but very sweet.
"He was very quiet, but caring," she said. "He was always helping someone and someone was always helping him."
Jon was close to his older brother, Fred, Yvette said. The brothers were only 20 months apart so they would fight often but were also inseparable when they were younger. They would get in trouble together andcomplain if Yvette tried dressing them in similar clothes.
"They would whine, ‘Mom, do we have to wear the same color?’"
The brothers had similar features, but Jon differed in one striking way; his beard and hair. Yvette called him a "hairy kid" and in a recent photo, Jon is trying to look serious and mean while his beard and hair are sticking out at all angles.
"It’s just such a goofy photo if you really know Jon," Yvette said.
Jon had a passion for cars since a young age, his mother said. He could name any car he saw on the road and he had several that he liked working on. He had many big ideas for his life.
"There’s a lot he dreamed of," Yvette said. "But something would always interrupt it."
But things were falling into place for Jon; he was going to Seward in August to attend Alaska Vocational Technical Center in the diesel mechanic program.
Jon attended Haines High and friends and former classmates were remembering him this week as jovial and social.
Classmate Samantha Clay said he was shy when he joined her class in eighth grade, "But he ended up being a fun-loving, awesome guy to be around. He had infectious humor. If you were down he’d listen and make you feel better. I always had a great time hanging out with him. I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say we all did."
History teacher Lilly Boron said, "He had a quiet way of observing the humor in life," that she appreciated.
Science teacher Mark Fontenot praised his sense of humor and his kindness. "This is the truth: He had a sweet, cheerful disposition and a good sense of humor. His humor was sweet, goofy, and never mean. So much of humor in high school is meant to put somebody down, but Jon never did that."
Jon is survived by his mother, Yvette, father Bob, brothers Fred and Cade, sister Kaitlyn, grandmother Sandra Dafoe, uncles Dan Dafoe, aunts Debbie Graham and Diana, great-grandmother Daisy Cranston and great-grandmother Eleanor Black, and many more aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
A service is planned for Port Chilkoot Bible Church on Saturday, July 9 at noon. A celebration of life will take place at a later date.