The community lost a beloved leader, a committed public servant and a loving volunteer with the passing of Charline McGraw last Monday.
McGraw was a true Southern lady with a kind spirit who truly loved Yazoo and its people. The widow of former mayor Hugh McGraw, she was heavily involved with a variety of civic causes and will leave a lasting impression upon the community she served.
“The reason I want to work so hard for the town is to help Hugh,” McGraw said, in a 1994 news article. “And I hope one day some of our children and grandchildren will be able to come back here. We need to improve our community to keep our young people here.”
Although she admitted that she was embarrassed with the title of “Yazoo’s first lady,” McGraw liked being involved with the community. She was active in a variety of causes even before her husband was elected mayor of Yazoo City in 1990.
McGraw was born on April 6, 1940 in Yazoo County to Cecil and Lilly Martin. She married Hugh McGraw in 1962, and they raised seven children together. She was also a member of St. John’s United Methodist Church.
McGraw worked for the local vocational rehabilitation office for 19 years, retiring in 1990. She was a member of the Mary Brickell Circle, the county Extension Service’s advisory board, the Red Cross disaster team, the American Cancer Society, the Head Start policy council and the Altar Society at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
McGraw was also a leader and avid supporter of the Yazoo County Fair Association. During the popular annual fair, she was always the first to greet many visitors at one of the entrances. It was also a family affair, passing on several roles of the fair and its leadership to her own children.
McGraw also served as president of the American Legion’s Auxiliary and helped raise funds for the veteran’s memorial at the Yazoo County Courthouse.
McGraw is survived by four sons, three daughters, a sister, 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.