Charles and Anna Graham represent the third pioneer family for us to remember on Founder’s Day. Charlie Graham’s parents were among the early members of our church, and Charles remembered going to Sunday School in the old church on the comer of Warner Avenue and Gothard with Charles Applebury when they were both boys, Charles was born on March 8,1896, in Huntington Beach. When he was a young boy, his parents built the large two-story house across the street from the Meadowlark Golf Course on Graham Street. He lived there until he and Anna married on March 15,1917. Anna was born on January 14, 1898, in Clearfield, Iowa, and her family had moved to Huntington Beach in 1910.
Charles and Anna had two sons, who were baptized in the Wintersburg Church, as were their five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. In earlier years, most of the social life in Wintersburg revolved around the church. Anna, along with Ruth Slater, Carol Applebury and others, would work together to prepare the annual turkey dinner, which was a major fund raising event. Several hundred people came from all around to attend the feast, which had been two days or more in the making.
During his farming years, Charles Graham raised celery, sugar beets and lima beans, until, in recent years, he found it more profitable to plant mobile homes on his farm along Warner Avenue. It is now known as the ‘Sea-Aire Mobile Estates.” But through all these productive years he was also a devoted churchman, serving many years on the Board of Trustees. He co-chaired the Building Committee with Oscar Strickland when our current Heil Avenue facilities were built in the mid-1960s.
Anna Graham is the one who especially represents a third strand of our heritage at Community Church. For many years, back in the forties and fifties, she was the Benevolence Treasurer. The Official Board minutes, for meeting after meeting, tell of her reports of contributions for missionaries and other benevolent good works. There was the Conference campaign for Plaza Community Center and All Nations Foundation. She supported a proposal to adopt a Chinese student at Fukien Theological Seminary and pay for his support from World Service Funds. Special missionary programs were held, and Anna’s efforts involved both the benevolence work of the church and the missionary activities of the Women’s Committee on Missions.
Anna was a member of our church for sixty-six years, passing away on July 23,1981. Charles died on May 14, 1985, having been a member for seventy years.
(This historical narrative was compiled from family members by Rev. Galal Gough and delivered by him during a Founder’s Day celebration on January 10, 1988, one week after the death of pioneer member Charles Applebury. Pioneers Ruth Slater and John Murdy were still living at the time.)