August 8, 2011

Lawrence E. Graves, 89, who retired from the D.C. public schools as principal of Rabaut Junior High School and then served 30 years as a volunteer counselor at the District’s Dunbar High School, died July 23 at his home in Washington. He collapsed on his lawn after a heat-related heart attack, his family said.

Dr. Graves began his career in education as a teacher at Lincoln Junior High School in Rockville. Later, he taught and served as a counselor at schools in Washington. He was an assistant principal at MacFarland Junior High School in Washington for four years and was principal at Rabaut for 17 years, retiring in 1978.

For the next 30 years, he was a volunteer at Dunbar, where he had graduated in 1940. He helped arrange college scholarships and financial aid packages for Dunbar graduates, and he helped establish and direct the Dunbar Alumni Federation’s scholarship program.

With his wife, he established the Lawrence and Julia Graves Scholarship Fund, which was said to have raised more than $1 million in financial aid for Dunbar graduates. In the Dunbar community, Dr. Graves was known affectionately as “Mr. Dunbar.”

Lawrence Elmer Graves was born in Bowie. He graduated from Miner Teachers College in Washington and received a master’s degree and a doctorate in education from New York University. During World War II, he served in the Army in Europe.

He was a member of the Pigskin Club and the M Club, a men’s poker club that got together for monthly games.

His wife of 50 years, Julia Mae Craig Graves, died in 1998. Survivors include a son, Lawrence Craig Graves of Washington.

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