William W. Graham, a lawyer, investor and philanthropist who was a member of the family that owned and published The Washington Post for many years, died Dec. 20 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 69.
The cause was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said his brother Donald E. Graham, a former Post publisher and chief executive.
Mr. Graham was a lawyer at the prominent Washington firm of Williams & Connolly in the 1970s before settling in Los Angeles, where he taught trial law at his alma mater, the University of California at Los Angeles.
He later founded an investment firm, Graham Partners, which he owned and operated for about 20 years until dissolving the business in 2001. Since then, he concentrated on philanthropic activities, including those in education, medical research and support for veterans.
Much of his philanthropy was anonymous, but he did acknowledge being an early supporter of the PUENTE Learning Center, a Los Angeles educational and youth services organization that has benefited more than 100,000 people since the 1980s.
William Welsh Graham was born May 2, 1948, in Washington. His grandfather Eugene Meyer purchased The Post in 1933. His parents, Philip L. Graham and Katharine Graham, both held the positions of publisher and chief executive at the newspaper, as did his brother Donald. A niece, Katharine Weymouth, also served as publisher of The Post before the newspaper was sold in 2013.
Mr. Graham was a 1966 graduate of the private St. Albans School in Washington and a 1970 graduate of Stanford University, where he majored in history and was active in the antiwar movement protesting U.S. involvement in Vietnam. He graduated from the UCLA law school in 1973, and then worked at Williams & Connolly for three years.
He was a summer resident of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., where he served on the board of the local hospital.
His marriages to the former Jorie Pepper (the poet known as Jorie Graham), Caroline Cushing and Jean Parker ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife of seven years, Sally Lasker Graham of Los Angeles; two children from his second marriage, Alice Graham of Portland, Ore., and Edward Graham of Pupukea, Hawaii; a sister, Lally Weymouth of New York; and two brothers, Donald E. Graham of Washington and Stephen M. Graham of New York.
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