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Tuesday, March 26, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Area Hall of Fame coach Graffis dies

Led Oakesdale boys, Columbia girls to State B basketball titles


Roy Graffis, who became the first coach in state history to guide both girls and boys basketball teams to titles, died on July 4 at the Alderwood Care Center in Spokane. He was 82.

Graffis, of Seven Bays, retired as the Columbia School District Superintendent in 1995. In 2009, he was inducted into the Inland Empire Sports Hall of Fame for his 38 years of coaching in LaCrosse, Oakville, Moses Lake, Sprague, Odessa and Oakesdale, according to information provided by his family.

In 1973, Graffis coached the Oakesdale boys basketball team to the State B title. While at Oakesdale, Graffis was active in the development of the youth basketball programs in Whitman County.

He then moved to Hunters and guided the 1986 Columbia girls basketball team to the State B title. He also coached the Columbia Lions football team to State B-11 crowns in 1987 and 1988.

When he was inducted into the hall of fame, Graffis quipped that he thought other coaches may have been pulling a prank on him when they called to say he had made the list.

“I have an old corny expression,” Graffis said at the hall-of-fame ceremony in 2009. “I have no more mountains to climb. This is as high as I can go.”

Graffis was born Dec. 22, 1931, in Omak to Howard and Mary Jane Graffis and he later attended Lewis and Clark High School.

He enlisted in the Air Force in 1950 and returned to Omak where he married Della Boyd on August 4, 1954. Together they raised six children.

He earned his degree in teaching from Washington State College and later earned a master’s degree in school counseling.

He is survived by his wife, Della, and six children, 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on July 12 at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in Okanogan. A later “Celebration of Life” will be held at noon on July 19 at the Seven Bays Community Center.

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