Cover photo for J.C. "Bud" Graves's Obituary
J.C. "Bud" Graves Profile Photo
1933 "Bud" 2024

J.C. "Bud" Graves

May 6, 1933 — January 23, 2024

Longtime Keith County resident J. C. "Bud" Graves passed away peacefully on January 23, 2024, at the age of 90 years, 8 months, 17 days. He was born May 6, 1933, and came to Nebraska from Oklahoma as a young man in the early 1950s.

Bud worked as a cowboy and ranch hand for area ranches, including McGinleys, Knights, Orrs, and Enfields. He was drafted into the US Army and served from 1953-55. He returned to the area, and on February 10, 1956, he and Cena George were married. They were blessed with four daughters, Teresa, Jennifer, Becky and Sara. Bud embraced life with five women who were the light of his life.

Bud began hauling cattle for Ralph Harmonson, then with Andy Archer. In 1961, he purchased his first truck and began J. C. "Bud" Graves Livestock Transfer. He hauled fat cattle for Doc Mueller to Denver and to Omaha in the early 60s while building a customer base of farmers and ranchers from the Sandhills into Kansas and northeast Colorado. He had a reputation for caring for his customers' cattle as if they were his own. Bud retired at the age of 78 after 50 years of business.

Bud's friendly personality, infectious laughter, and impeccable manners were well known. He knew many people, a friend to all, and a special few he called "pard." He loved a good meal, good bourbon, and a game of pitch any time. He was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church and the Ogallala Elks Club.

Bud is survived by his daughters, Teresa (Penfield) Jarvis, Jennifer (Carson) Blackman, and Sara (Bernie) Schimonitz, along with son-in-law Todd Elmshauser and brother Ben (Kyle) Graves and sister Joan Wheeler. Also surviving him are his pride and joy, grandchildren, Jared (Missy) Blackman, Britni (JP) Murphy, Katie (Shane) Struckman, Tracy (Ethan) Mann, Wade (Jillian) Finney, Ashton (Dell)Simmerman, Tanner McVay, Eric(Callie) Elmshauser, Devin (Leeanne) Elmshauser, Garrett (Mary) Schimonitz, Tyler Schimonitz and Cade (Drew) Schimonitz. His great-grandchildren are Kenna (Montana) Wilcox, Luke (Shay), Matthew, Nathan, Jacob, and Abby Blackman; Zoe, Haley, and Gracee O'Keefe; Grace Murphy; Emma, Bree, Carson, and Gemma Struckman; Taya, Rory, Nolan, Lucy, and Henry Mann; Beau, Jayden, Dallas, and Lane Finney; Dalton(Natalia), Alexandria(Taylor)Molzahn and Shane Simmerman; Jacob James McVay; Sophie Schimonitz; Andi and Harper Schimonitz; Morgan, John, and Wyatt Elmshauser; Evelyn, Devin, Emily, and Dylan Elmshauser. And his great-great-grandchildren Bentley and Oaklynn Blackman, and Gianni Wilcox. Also surviving are special nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death are his cherished daughter Becky McVay, two infant grandsons, Luke Daniel Blackman and Jacob Michael McVay, great-granddaughter Maya Michelle Blackman, great-great-grandson Remington Wilcox, his sister Cyndi, his parents, grandparents, in-laws, and outlaws.

Memorials are suggested to the Keystone Library Club, PO Box 44, Keystone NE 69144. Condolences may be shared at Services will be streamed live at

Services for Bud will be on Saturday, February 3, 2024, at 2:00 MT at the First United Methodist Church in Ogallala.

Visitation will be on Friday, February 2, 2024, from 3:00-6:00 MT at the Prairie Hills Funeral Home in Ogallala.

Prairie Hills Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of J.C. "Bud" Graves, please visit our flower store.
Flowers and Cards for Bud Graves.pdf

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation for J.C. "Bud" Graves

Friday, February 2, 2024

3:00 - 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

Prairie Hills Funeral Home

602 N Spruce St, Ogallala, NE 69153

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration Of Life for J.C. "Bud" Graves

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

First United Methodist Church

421 N Spruce St, Ogallala, NE 69153

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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