William Frye Graves, 93, of Asheville, passed away Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at the Givens Estates Health Center.
A native of Montgomery, AL, Bill was the son of the late Henry Norman and Lee Frye Graves. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Ann Taylor Graves.
Bill attended Stark University School and Sidney Lanier HS, both in Montgomery, AL before earning his BS in Chemical Engineering from Alabama Poly Technic Institute in Auburn, AL in August of 1950
He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII from June of 1942 until October of 1945. He was in the 9th Air Force in Europe (England, France and Belgium) from May 1944 through August of 1945 where he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. He flew 15 missions in a B-26 aircraft and was awarded the air Medal with two oak leaf clusters. Following his college graduation, he returned to the Air Force in Korea from September 1950 until August of 1953. He then served with the Air Proving Ground Command at Eglin Field, FL as an R&D Staff Officer and in Special Weapons Command at Sandia Base in Albuquerque, NM where he attained the rank of Captain.
He worked for the Department of the Army from December 1953 until June of 1958 in the Ordinance Missile Laboratory and from December 1953 until January of 1980 as a test engineer in the rocket development division. He served as a propulsion engineer and R&D Directorate for the Nike Zeus Project from June 1958 through June of 1962.He was the Manager of the Missile Development program (later known as the Ballistic Missile Defense System Command from June of 1962 until January of 1980. During this time, he managed the late phases of development of the Nike Zeus Missile, including development of an anti-satellite version of the missile.
He managed the development of the SPRINT and SPARTAN missile systems from preliminary design through production release, which earned him the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Medal. From 1980 until 1995, he participated in numerous research and development efforts.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Arden Presbyterian Church Mercy Fund, 2215 Hendersonville Road, Arden, NC 28704.
A Memorial Service wias held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, June 25 in the Chapel of Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian. The family received friends and light refreshments were served at the funeral home immediately following the service. Bill will be interred in Calhoun City, MS at Calhoun City Cemetery with the assistance of Pryor Funeral Home. A Graveside Service will be held June 29, 2017 at 1:30pm.