Kenneth Deane “Little Kenny” Graves, 39, died March 17, 2006, near Dayville.
He died doing what he loved — flying helicopters.
His memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Heppner Elks Lodge, with Corey Laughary officiating. There will be a gathering of family and friends at the Elks Lodge after the service.
Kenny was born on Feb. 23, 1967, at Heppner to Bonnie and Deane Graves. He was a 1985 Heppner High School graduate. His love of the woods and operating heavy equipment made logging a natural career choice after high school.
Early in his career, he and his mother spent time logging in Alaska. Logging eventually took him all over the Pacific Northwest. Ultimately, he found that operating chain saws, cats, dozers and loaders wasn’t enough, and he became a helicopter pilot. Kenny then combined the best of both worlds and became a helicopter logger.
In the summer he fought wildfires by providing air support with the ships he flew. Not only was he doing what he loved, he was considered one of the best at his trade.
Kenny will be remembered for putting his heart into everything he did and toward everyone he met. He had a driving ambition, never giving less than the best to all he encountered.
His quest to provide was never-ending. Kenny gave of himself generously and passionately as witnessed by his life focus in doing for others. Always knowing that he may never have the favor returned, but rather giving and doing because of the joy it brought to those around him.
He strived to make himself and those around him better. His sound character, pure heart, strong values and enthusiasm for life are an inspiration to everyone. All who knew Kenny were touched by his deep laugh, warm spirit, compassionate heart, and beautiful soul.
Survivors include his mother, Bonnie Paullus of Sumpter; father, Deane Graves of Umatilla; fiance Renee Kuehner of Clarkia, Idaho; daughters, Kayla and Samantha of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Whitney of Klamath Falls; sister, Candy Nielson and her husband, Rob, of Julietta, Idaho; and brothers, Mike and Eric Graves of Portland; grandmothers, Connie Lucille Petty of Canyon City and Doris Graves of Heppner; aunts and uncles, Kenneth “Big Kenny” and Candy Gates of Lexington, Rita Woolsey and Louie and Betty Carlson, all of Heppner, and Walt and Rita Hill of Ocean Shores, Wash.; cousins, Mike and Missy Towers of Burns, Kevin and Melanie Troxell of Boardman, and Bonny Jo Hill of Heppner.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, March 24,2006
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor