Mohave County
May 2024
Volume 24 Issue 3

Dec 2023 | December 2023 | 0 comments

Obituary: Publisher Thomas J. McGraham

December 2023 | 0 comments

December 2023

Publisher Thomas J. McGraham (June 21, 1942 ~ October 26, 2023) was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended Glenwood School for Boys and Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, IL. He studied at University of Illinois and Illinois State University, Chicago Circle Campus and Northridge University in California.
He is survived by his wife, Shirín McGraham; brother, Roy Zinsky; nieces, Cherie McGraham, Debbie Arnold, Amber Rizkalla and Kaely Krarats; nephews Roy Zinsky Jr. and Casey Zinsky; cousins Janice Forest, Joyce Fessenden, John McGraham, Dave McGraham, Susi McGraham, Sharon McGraham, Karen Brim, Dennis Whipple and his wife, Monica; and some very special people to Thomas – Rose & Tom Kelley, Carol Shanahan and her daughters, Patty, Kathy and Jody.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Florence Zinsky; father, James McGraham; brother, Dennis McGraham and cousins, Mickey Shanahan and Don McGraham.
A Vietnam veteran, Thomas joined the Navy in 1966 and served in Vietnam and Japan. As a Seabee, he participated in the construction, maintenance, and defense of docks and seawalls close to Vietnam’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the area around the former border between North and South Vietnam, allowing provisions to be delivered by ship to supply marine troops.
Because his education was in journalism and English, he was recruited to write stories for military publications, including Stars & Stripes. Some of his fondest memories were of interviewing numerous performers who came to entertain the troops, particularly Tony Bennett.
During his service in Japan, he taught English as a second language in two different schools outside of Osaka.
When he returned to the States he settled in Los Angeles, Calif. to be close to his mother and brothers. He landed a job as a reporter at the Daily News in the San Fernando Valley, where he worked for many years. The editor there shortened his byline (name) to Thom McGraham to better fit the column width.
In the late 1970s, Thom purchased a deli in Burbank, Calif. and subsequently sold it and bought a bar which he converted to a restaurant called Tin Horn Flats. The restaurant was popular with employees of the television and film studios located in Burbank.
In 1985 Thom sold Tin Horn Flats to his cousin, Janice, and went to work at CBS Television studio as a make-up artist on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
He moved to Bullhead City in 1988, where his mother and other family members moved to when they retired. He worked briefly as a bartender at the Riverside Casino before going to work at the Mohave Daily News as a reporter.
In 1990 Thom and two business partners started the weekly paper, the Bullhead City Bee, and were joined in the business venture by Thom’s fiancé, Hilda Gay Zimmer. Thom and Gay took over the business shortly thereafter and ran it together. She passed away in 1997.
In 1999 Thom invited Shirín Berton, a journalist and long-time friend, to work with him on the Bee. In March of 2000 they launched The Economic Development Journal of Mohave County as a monthly publication serving Kingman, Golden Valley, Bullhead City, Fort Mohave, Mohave Valley and Lake Havasu City in Mohave County and also distributing in Laughlin, Nev. and Needles Calif.
Thom and Shirín were married May 10, 2003 and continued to run both publications until 2018, when they shut down the Bullhead City Bee. They have been publishing the Economic Development Journal for more than 23 years. When Thom’s health began to fail in 2022, Shirín continued to run the paper without him.
“I’m dedicated to the Journal, as was he, it’s played a major role in our life together,” she said. “And I will continue to publish the paper until I retire and, hopefully, leave it in the hands of people dedicated to the same level of journalistic integrity that we have always strived to achieve.”
A Celebration of Life will be held for Thomas on Saturday, February 10 with family, friends and colleagues. Those planning to attend should please RSVP by calling 928-768-2849, evenings.

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