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Delbert B. "Bart" Graves
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Warren - Delbert B. "Bart" Graves, 89 of Warren passed away on Tuesday December 7, 2010 at FHN Memorial Hospital. Born on January 29, 1921 in Nora, IL he was the son of Charles Mitchell and Ida Florence (Hayes) Graves. Bart attended the Nora Elementary School, receiving the highest honor of a college scholarship upon graduation from 8th Grade, as had his brother, Ben, before him. During their development years in Nora, they both worked alongside their father and grandfather raising tobacco. Together as teenagers, he and Ben joined Roosevelt's CCCs, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and where sent to Milwaukee as part of a bridge building crew. Bart married the love of his life, Zenna Pearl "Tootie" Harris (Benton, WI), on September 19, 1941 in St. Louis, MO and brought her to live with him at the family homestead in Nora, which he had already purchased from his grandparents when he was only 15. At that time, Bart was working as an automobile mechanic in Freeport and part-time with a small independent group of friends in the Chicago area constructing a small airplane that our government was interested in. Due to the approaching war, Bart enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps but received a temporary deferment to complete his part of designing this aircraft. He entered the Corps in 1942, graduating with honors from their aircraft mechanic training in California - as the third highest of over 9,000, to that date, graduates. He then served two years in the South Pacific Theater where he earned the Legion of Merit Award for developing machinery enabling B-24 bombers to recalibrate carburetors in the field rather than having to return to a major airstrip after each bombing. After the war he turned down an offer from a Boston aircraft corporation to remain in the Nora area with his family. Bart, Ben, and their father worked together for Mac McCullough's Auto Garage in Freeport for several years, during which time the two brothers built, owned and operated a garage in Nora. In 1960, Ben managed the garage and Bart went to work for Micro Switch MFG. In 1962 he joined Newell MFG in Freeport and realized he had finally found the open opportunity to use his creative designing and engineering abilities resulting in what he referred to as a hobby they actually paid him for. Bart designed and built machinery in probably every processing department in the plant, including redeveloping existing machinery of several of the companies Newell purchased over the course his 38 years with what grew to be the Newell Rubbermaid Companies. Bart finally retired as Newell's first emeritus just six months before turning 80 and having had been honored with corporate awards during his career, including several patents processed in his name. Bart was a lifetime member of the VFW in Benton, WI. In his early years he used to repair TVs and Radios at his home and making house-calls for many of his friends and neighbors. Bart received his GED after his start at Newell and furthered his education through courses in Madison and Freeport, where he once served on the board for Highland Community College.

Delbert "Bart" is survived by 2 sons: Kenneth (Helen) Graves of Rockford, Gary (Patricia) Graves of Springfield, VA; 1 daughter: Zenna Graves-Hawley of both Warren, IL and Alexandria, VA; 5 grandchildren: James Graves of Rockford, Richard Graves of Rockford, Dana Dinderman of Freeport, Michael Graves of Freeport and Trent Tallman of Woodstock; 6 great-grandchildren: Laura and Lucas Dinderman, Benjamin, Heidi and Evan Graves, and Zander Graves; 4 nephews: Charles Barton Graves of Freeport, Charles "Chuck" (Karen) Graves of Pearl City, Jeff Graves of Nora and John Graves of Freeport; 1 niece: Judy (Tom) Bergstrom of Warren; a few cousins remain in the Warren, Freeport and Stockton areas; and his beloved extended family in Benton, WI.

Delbert "Bart" was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Zenna "Tootie" on June 12, 2004; 2 sisters: Esther Meyers and Jean Frank; and 1 brother: Charles "Ben" Graves.

Visitation will be held from 3:00 to 7:00 PM on Saturday, December 11, 2010 at the Bartell-Leamon Funeral Home in Warren, IL.

Services will be held on Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 1:00 PM at the Benton United Methodist Church in Benton, WI. Pastor Rod Johnson will officiate at the service.