John Graham Sudbury

John Graham Sudbury

Passed away Saturday, September 4 at age 88 in Little Rock. He was the oldest of three sons of John Graham Sudbury and Avis Sudbury born February 13, 1933 and raised in Blytheville Arkansas. After graduation from Blytheville High School, Graham became a lifelong Razorback with a degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas in 1955. His work on the student newspaper, the Traveler, and the college press club ignited his admiration for the written word that would influence his career and life. Following college Graham served in the U.S. Army intelligence division, worked as a reporter for the Commercial Appeal of Memphis and moved on to join national public relations and marketing firms, ultimately accepting a corporate position at Campbell Soup’s headquarters near Philadelphia. There he helped orchestrate a national marketing campaign including a coast to coast tour with then movie and TV star Lassie promoting the launch of Lassie’s “favorite” dog food, Recipe. Graham said both he and Lassie had a great time. In 1978 he took a position as Director of Corporate Communications at The Williams Companies in Tulsa, OK where he stayed until 1991. Graham and Michael were next off to their new retirement home in Taos New Mexico filled with bookcases and spectacular views of Taos Mountain. Graham enjoyed traveling the world but especially to Italy, France and our national parks.  He seldom bypassed an open museum or declined to lend his talent for public relations and fund raising advertising to arts groups. He served on the Boards of the Tulsa Opera, the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos and was a regular at the Santa Fe Opera, the Gilcrease Museum, a playwright reading group in Tulsa and the Harwood Museum in Taos. Not content to be merely an observer, Graham wrote and directed several plays, each with multiple performances at the Taos Community Auditorium. Alas, neither Broadway nor Hollywood beckoned but he loved every minute of it!  Graham’s trademark was his “flat top” crew cut haircut. It gave him instant credibility and no doubt was the reason he was invited to appear not once, but twice, as an impersonator on the 1970’s TV series “To Tell the Truth”. He first impersonated the director of   NASA’s Apollo moon missions receiving 3 of the 4 celebrity panelist’s votes.  The next year he appeared with a famed mountain climber who had ascended Grand Teton at age 16 and the Matterhorn twice in one day. Graham got all 4 votes as the real mountain climber – including one from the same panelist that had voted for him as the Apollo mission director! The written word in a book, periodical or newspaper was Graham’s best friend. His bookcases overflowed. He especially liked history, mystery, spies and Sherlock Holmes. This led to his enthusiastic participation, attired with his deerstalker hat and calabash pipe, in the Sherlock Holmes Society. He lamented the demise of the daily newspaper. When his home delivery of the Sunday New York Times ceased he became a regular in the early Sunday morning scrum at the drop off location for the always too few copies delivered to Taos. Graham never much cared for electronic newspapers or eBooks. He leaves behind his wife of 53 years, Michael Moore Sudbury, daughter Susan McArthur of Little Rock, grandchildren Caleb, Will, Andrew and Amelia and brother David and wife Holly of Dallas, TX. He was predeceased by son Scott Graham Sudbury and brother Roger Wheatley Sudbury. The family will hold a private memorial service to honor Graham.Memorials in Graham’s name can be made to the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, the Tulsa Opera, a charity of your choice or simply by enjoying reading a good book. Arrangements by and condolence book at RuebelFuneralHome.com.

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