R. W. "Buzzy" Graham
|Ralph Warren "Buzzy" Graham|
Louisiana State Representative
for Rapides and Grant parishes
|Preceded by|| At-large membership:|
|Succeeded by||Ned Randolph (Single-member District 26)|
|Born|| July 7, 1937|
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
|Died||December 19, 2014 (aged 77)|
|Resting place||Alexandria Memorial Gardens in Alexandria, Louisiana|
|Spouse(s)||Carol Parker Graham|
|Children|| Ginger Niemann|
|Residence||Woodworth, Rapides Parish|
|Alma mater|| Bolton High School (Alexandria)|
|Service/branch||United States Army National Guard|
Ralph Warren Graham, known as R. W. "Buzzy" Graham (July 7, 1937 – December 19, 2014), was an insurance agent in Alexandria, Louisiana, who served as a Democrat state representative from 1968 to 1972 in the second administration of Governor John J. McKeithen.
Graham was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, to the late Bess and Warren Graham. He graduated in 1955 from Bolton High School in Alexandria and in 1959 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he was affiliated with Kappa Alpha fraternity. After college, he enlisted in the United States Army National Guard rank of captain. In his early years, he was active in the Jaycees. He was a member of Kiwanis International, the Alexandria-Pineville Chamber of Commerce, and the Masonic lodge. He was also a Shriner.
Graham was a pilot, hunter, fisherman, and scuba diver. He spent much time at his camp, the Catfish Point Club, in Greenville, Mississippi. His friend Tommy Antoon of Alexandria said of Graham: "He was a craftsman. He could build or fix most anything. But most of all, he was a good person and a very good friend."
Graham was married to the former Carol Parker (1940-2016), the daughter of Clarence and Loudell Parker; she lived during childhood in Austin, Texas, Arlington, Virginia, and Puerto Rico. The couple had four daughters, Ginger Niemann and husband, John, of Houston, Texas, Leslie Letbetter of Spring, Texas, Piper Glasgow and husband, Ray, of Amite in Tangipahoa Parish, and Peyton Mayeaux and husband, James, of Shreveport, and ten grandchildren.
Graham and his wife were members of the First United Methodist Church of Alexandria.
In the legislature, Graham served alongside T. C. Brister, W. K. Brown, and Robert Munson from Rapides and Grant parishes. As a legislator, he was considered a reformer and supported the agenda advanced by E. L. "Bubba" Henry, the then Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives.
Graham was also a member of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973. In the spring of that same year, as the favorite of the business community, he lost a high-profile race for mayor of Alexandria to his fellow Democrat, John K. Snyder. Graham polled 4,814 votes (41 percent) to Snyder's 6,907 votes (59 percent). Karst did not seek reelection to a second term. Incumbent Ed Karst did not seek reelection, and Snyder and Graham met in a contentious Democratic runoff election. Snyder went on to serve two nonconsecutive terms as mayor until he was succeeded by Ned Randolph.
In 1979, Graham crossed party lines to endorse the election of Republican David C. Treen as governor. Treen narrowly defeated Louis Lambert, a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission from Baton Rouge, who had chaired the constitutional convention of which Graham had been a member six years earlier.
Graham continued with his insurance business until his retirement as vice chairman of Risk Services of Louisiana. Later a resident of Woodworth in south Rapides Parish, he died at the age of seventy-seven. After services at the First United Methodist Church on December 21, 2014, he was interred at Alexandria Memorial Gardens.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2024. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on July 29, 2020.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 R. W. "Buzzy" Graham. The Alexandria Town Talk (December 20, 2014). Retrieved on July 28, 2020.
- ↑ Melissa Gregory (December 20, 2014). Former Louisiana legislator, businessman Graham dies. Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on July 28, 2020.
- ↑ Carol Graham obituary. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on July 28, 2020.
- ↑ McLeod Lecture Series, McNeese State University in Lake Charles: Louisiana Public Broadcasting, "The Young Turks."
- ↑ The Alexandria Daily Town Talk, May 19 and 20, 1973, both p. 1.
- ↑ Louisiana Ledger-News, November 30, 1979, pp. 4, 8.