Howard Graves, former Associated Press bureau chief, dies

By on January 25, 2017


PRESCOTT, Ariz. –Howard Graves, a bureau chief and reporter for The Associated Press during a 41-year career that included directing coverage in several Western states and across much of the Pacific region, died Wednesday. He was 90.

Graves died of health issues related to age and Alzheimer’s disease in his apartment in a Prescott, Arizona, assisted living facility, said Graham Graves, one of his two sons.

Howard Graves got his start in journalism during high school reporting on sports for a weekly newspaper in his hometown of Robinson, Illinois, and went on to work as the paper’s sports editor.

He served in the U.S. Navy, attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, and Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, and worked as a reporter and editor for three newspapers before joining the AP in 1952.

He worked for the news service in Little Rock, Arkansas, Helena, Montana, and Denver before becoming a regional membership executive based in Portland, Oregon, in 1957.

Graves was chief of bureau in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 1962 to 1977; Portland, Oregon, from 1977 to 1982; and Honolulu from 1982 to 1993, when he retired.

While a bureau chief, Graves oversaw coverage of such major news events as former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, going into exile in Hawaii and the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in southwestern Washington.

In Portland, Graves served as national president of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1980 and 1981.

As bureau chief in Albuquerque, Graves reported extensively on the Navajo Nation and was nominated by the AP for a Pulitzer for his investigative reporting on the tribal government.

He travelled extensively while Honolulu bureau chief and responsible for coverage of Guam and much of the Pacific region.

Graham Graves recalled that his father often joked that his territory then “was the size of the United States. Of course 95 per cent of it was water.”

For years after retirement. Graves mailed bylined newspaper clippings of AP articles to the reporters in the U.S. and elsewhere who wrote them.

“He just wanted to make sure everyone knew how far-reaching their stories got,” Graham Graves said.

Howard Graves’ wife, Audrey Gayle Parsnick Graves, died in 2012 at 82. They were married 57 years.

Survivors include their sons, Graham, of Little Rock, Arkansas, and Carson Graves of Edmonds, Washington, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter.