A Surgeon, His Savior & A Strong Legacy

It was my honor today to be a small part of an amazing memorial service that celebrated the life of Dr. Joseph Graham. I mentioned Joe and his battle with cancer in a recent post last month entitled Suffering < Glory. On Sunday, March 4, Joe received his ultimate healing as he was ushered into the presence of His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“Joe was a loving husband, devoted father and grandfather, surgeon, rancher, student of history and servant of God, country, his family and the Joplin community. He lived life to the fullest and brought joy to those who were around him,” his obituary read.

During the service, Dr. Graham was spoken of by his friend and colleague, Dr. Mitch Stinnett. Dr. Stinnett referred to Joe as “the brother I never had” as he reminisced about their partnership in the medical profession and how they grew to be the best of friends. Mitch made it very clear to all who were present today that Joe would want each of them to come to know the Jesus that he had committed his life to serving.

Joe’s two sons, Cameron and Mark each spoke about their father at the memorial today. They spoke of their dad being their hero, their confidant and mentor. Cameron shared from one of his dad’s Caring Bridge online journal entries where Joe said, that because of his faith in Christ, he was at peace with facing this chapter in his life, referring to his battle with cancer. Joe stated that his attitude could be expressed in the words of that beautiful hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” (which was one of the hymns sung as the service today). Mark shared of his dad’s love for history. He referenced Joe’s admiration of General Stonewall Jackson for not only being one of the great military minds of the day, but even more for being a great man of faith. Joe’s legacy of being a devout husband, father and follower of Christ was so beautifully expressed by both of his sons.

So many great things were shared about Joe Graham today. And I know there was so much more that could have been shared. But our Pastor, Jamie Tickel, brought it all down to one profound truth. He said, Joe is not in heaven today because he was a skilled surgeon who saved people’s lives. Joe is not in heaven today because he was a devoted husband and father. Joe is not in heaven today because of the legacy that he has left to his family and to those who knew him well. Joe is not in heaven because of anything that he did while he was here on this earth. Joe is in heaven today because of what he allowed Jesus Christ to do in his heart and life when he trusted Him as his Savior. Giving God glory through his life is what Joe wanted to do above all else. And that fact was never more evident in his life than it was over past 20 months as he gave God the glory through every difficult step of his journey Home.

“For our present suffering is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

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8 Responses to A Surgeon, His Savior & A Strong Legacy

  1. Kim Smith says:

    Jason, this was well said. Thank you for sharing parts of the memorial service as Aaron and I could only be there in spirit. He was an amazing man who will be remembered for so many reason, but we need to remember the real reason that he is in heaven vs the God given skills he had here on earth. Tough loss, but his faith is our comfort to know we will see him again one day!

  2. Michelle Arnold-Yeager says:

    All our love to Cynthia and family…Joe was and is an amazing man of God, who has now taken up residence with his Risen Saviour. Thankfully, Heaven is Real! Good article.

  3. Gaylin hall says:

    Dr. Graham walked into my fathers room at St. Johns, my dad said, ” I’ve got shoes older than you.!!” gosh that was over 25 years ago.!!! I had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Graham at a Memorial Service years latter, while talking Dr. Graham mentioned that comment, saying a patient had said that to him!! He’d repeated it over the years, always getting a laugh!! I looked at him and said, “THAT WAS MY DAD”!! When I read Dr. Graham had passed away, I smiled thinking, “I wonder what my dad’s telling him now??!!”

    • jtsooner24 says:

      That story about your dad was shared by Dr. Stinnett at the memorial on Thursday. I had heard Dr Graham share that story before as well. The “Doc, I’ve got shoes older than you.” line is a classic that I am sure will continue to be told.

  4. Cindy Ferguson says:

    I just now read that this wonderful man had passed. Dr. Graham was my mother’s doctor at the time of her final 10 earthly days. He talked to us three kids with the kindest, most thoughtful words of comfort. We were at the point we had to make the hardest decision that no one wants to make and that is saying goodbye to this end of our chapter with our mom. He reassured us that we weren’t the ones taking her life, that only God can do that. It was so wonderful to know that our mom had the best care possible and to have a God fearing man to take care of her. Dr. Graham will be missed and he truly left a wonderful legacy behind, but the glory he is witnessing now is beyond compare to here. Thank you, Dr. Graham until we meet again on the other side.

  5. Jan Smiley says:

    After knowing him for several years, I finally was given the opportunity to become his office nurse for the past 12 years and the wisdom and knowledge I soaked up from this genuis of a man was invaluable. But it was not the knowledge of medicine, history or even politics I will remember most but his love of God, family and country. “Do your part-go vote” “if you don’t vote, don’t complain”. He spoke so fondly of his family and when Cynthia came into the conversation there was a smile unlike any other. I remember when Leah was about to marry Jose’ I asked did he like him and he said,”if I could have hand picked a son-in-law, I couldn’t have found a better one on earth….WOW! He always had a kind word and you KNEW of his love for God. An amazing man and I am priviledged to have worked along side him.

    Jan Smiley

  6. Janice Myers says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I wanted to be at his service, but that was when I was flying to Phoenix. This gave me a glimpse of what I’m sure was a wonderful memorial for a wonderful man.

  7. Pat Barron says:

    The world should have more people like dr. Graham

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