John Valentine Gravatt, 70, of Turlock died Sunday, May 1 at Memorial Hospital, Modesto.
He was born in New Underwood, South Dakota. His first home was in the Elm Springs, SD area. At the age of five his family moved to Wasta, SD. He attended school in Wasta and Quinn, SD where he graduated from high school in 1959.
After graduation he joined in U.S. Navy. He spent three-and-a-half years of his four years in the Navy on the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Lexington.
He married Donna Sorensen on Oct. 23, 1963 in Wall, SD.
Mr. Gravatt moved his family to Modesto in 1965 where he worked at Sears and Sharpe Army Depot. He graduated from Modesto Junior College with an A.S. degree as a machinist. He worked as a machinist until 1976 when he bought a truck and worked as an independent trucker. He spent the rest of his working years in trucking, retiring from Kings County Truck Lines in 2002. He was a resident of Oakdale for 26 years.
After retirement he and his wife pursued their love to travel in their motor home. They traveled through 35 states and eight Canadian Provinces. He completed his “bucket list” with a trip to Alaska and a trip to Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Maine to eat lobster.
His family and friends will miss him.
He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Donna; sons, Tim (Gina), Troy (Denise); grandchildren, Presley, Kiley, Jace, Morgan, all of Oakdale; sisters, Helen Gabbert of Dickinson, ND, Dora Mae Jensen of Wall, SD; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Olga Gravatt; and brother, Jack Gravatt.
A celebration of life will be his service at the Santa Nella National Cemetery, Santa Nella, followed by a reception at the home of Tim and Gina Gravatt in Oakdale.
Oakdale Riverbank Memorial Chapels in charge of arrangements.