Former Lassen County resident, David “Dave” Graham, 75, passed away July 3, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and daughters by his side.
Dave was born in St Cloud, Minnesota in September 1945. At a young age, his family moved to Lassen County, California where he attended local schools in Wendel and Standish. He graduated from Lassen High School in 1963. In high school Dave ran track and was a member of the school band (trombone) all four years.
Shortly after graduation, Dave married his high school sweetheart Bonnie Brewen and went to work for the U.S. Forest Service as a Wildland firefighter. He spent his career on the Lassen, Plumas and Klamath national forests, serving in the capacity of engine foreman, station manager, smokejumper, helitack foreman, aerial recon, training officer, crew liaison officer, division supervisor, fire control officer and battalion chief. While employed with the Forest Service, Dave returned to college and obtained his degree in fire science from Shasta College in Redding, California. He later trained and became certified as an EMT.
After 25 years with the Forest Service, Dave went to work for the Bureau of Land Management in charge of their new SEAT (single engine air tanker) program. This led Dave on a new career path for the next 19 years. He worked for FireTrol as their air tanker base manager at the NCSC Airport in Redding, California. When FireTrol lost their contract, Dave was recruited by PhosChek to work as their air tanker base manager at Reno-Stead Airport in Nevada. He retired in 2010 to Redding at the age of 65.
In March 2021 Dave celebrated 25 years of sobriety — something he was very proud of. After completing his program, Dave volunteered as a counselor for 10 years at the Empire Recovery Center in Redding. Dave was an avid fisherman and considered Eagle Lake to be his second home.
Dave was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy treatments. He was told he was cancer free but his doctor misdiagnosed him. His cancer never went into remission and remained untreated. After moving to Eugene, Oregon in 2018, Dave learned he had advanced Stage IV cancer and was given a prognosis of six months. Dave fought a valiant battle and went on to live three more years.
Dave is survived by his wife Linda Jiler-Graham; and his two daughters Kristie Ruddell, of Roseville, California, and Becky Anderson (Don), of Redding; four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Dave is also survived by four sisters, Karen Hart (Richard), Kathleen Brazell ; Mary Royle, all of Redding, and Ginny Hicks (Jim) of Litchfield, California; and two younger brothers, Danny Graham (Jean), of Reno, Nevada and Paul Graham (Donetta) of Selah, Washington; plus numerous nieces and nephews.
Dave was preceded in death by both his parents Jim and Dorothy Graham, and his first wife Bonnie Graham.
A Celebration of Dave’s life is tentatively planned following the end of fire season. Condolences may be sent to 152 E. Hatton Ave, Eugene, OR 97404.