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Richard Nathan Graboyes

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“Thank you to our friends and family for your loving support. Bill, Charles, Mom and I truly do appreciate you all. ”
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Richard (Rich) Nathan Graboyes was 58 when he passed away on Sunday, June 17, 2012 in Lake Elsinore, California in his home, on Father's Day. He died of natural causes believed to be heart failure.

His Life

Richard Nathan Graboyes was born on June 9, 1954 in Lakewood, California. He is survived by his sons William Victor and Charles Andrew Edward Graboyes of Cypress, CA, his brother Dale Graboyes of Carson, CA, his mother Rachel Page-Rooney of Oklahoma, sisters Leila Page and Becky Page of Oklahoma, nieces Hope and Shaina Graboyes of Carson CA, Irving Graboyes, his father (deceased), brother Edward (deceased).

When Rich was about eight years old his Dad took custody of Richard and his brother Dale. They grew up in the South Bay area of Southern California. According to his brother, Dale, Richard was a dare devil and the boys got into lots of trouble. Rich pushed the limits and loved speed. "He had two speeds, fast and way too fast!" He attended Carson High School where he played J.V. football for a couple of years and was very active in the technical aspects of productions and managed the audio and video at sporting events and plays. His first car was a navy blue Nova that he worked on continually. His dad told him he could have it if he got it running, and he did. Rich worked at a grocery store, Boys Market, in Torrance during high school. He loved cars and driving fast, racing through the hills of Palos Verdes. He was intrigued by the 1971 Buick Rivera (the boat) so much that he saved all his money to rent one for the senior prom. He graduated in 1972 and enlisted in the United States Air Force and became a firefighter and married Robin Merkner in November, 1973 on the U.S.S. Princess Louise in San Pedro.

He enlisted in the Air Force for six years so that he could be guaranteed to become a firefighter. It was his passion. He loved the danger, the excitement and the bond that developed with fellow firemen. Richard was determined to be the best at whatever he did. He quickly rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant before honorable discharge in 1978.

After high school Richard and Robin lived in Redondo Beach and Lancaster before heading to England for three years. Rich loved England and seemed to be very at home there. He found a 300 year old house on a farm in the little town of Dunwich to live in that was about 20 miles away from the base. I think he developed his love of gardening when the Godfrey's, the landlords who became 'family away for the family', gave him a plot to grow vegetables. His last Air Force assignment was in Dover, Delaware where he earned commendations for fighting a huge oil fire and for rescuing military dogs from a plane.

Upon becoming a civilian he wanted nothing more than to continue as a fireman however due to the economic circumstances and his health he was not able to do so. This was one of the biggest disappointments in his life. While in England he developed ulcerative colitis, the beginning of his health issues. His mother-in-law, Orlene had a friend who worked for Mercedes Benz in Santa Monica and Richard began his internship under a master mechanics from Germany. .and so his Mercedes career began. He worked for House of Imports, in Buena Park CA where he quickly became the top rated mechanic in California.

Because of the costs of housing in Orange County they started their family in Rialto in 1979 where his two sons were born, William and Charles. Shortly thereafter, Rich was contacted by a new Mercedes dealership opening in Anaheim Hills, Caliber Motors made him an offer he could not refuse; he worked for Caliber until his retirement in 2011. While working at Caliber he honed his craft to become one of the top Mercedes Benz mechanics in the world. He regularly was an expert witness representing Mercedes Benz, Corp. and he won many awards and accolades. Rich became the Service Manager for the dealership but decided he preferred being a shop foreman. This was not surprising given his technical prowess and love of solving the most difficult mechanical and electrical problems.

In 1990 the family moved from Rialto to San Bernardino. In November 1992 Rich became a private pilot, one of his life-long dreams. He flew out of Flabob Airport in Riverside most of the time. He took the boys flying, fishing and camping often.

In 1994 he moved to Anaheim Hills and a few years later he moved to Lake Elsinore. He lived alone in his Lake Elsinore home and enjoyed, watching his favorite westerns, boxing, football, working on his garden growing fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers.

He may not have expressed his feelings fully, and toward the end of his life he withdrew from his friends and family. It is well known how much he loved his boys, William and Charles. He did everything he could for them. He instilled a strong work ethic, competitive nature and passed to them both his mechanical skills and intelligence. Thank you Rich for being uniquely you. We love you and miss you so much already.

Note from Bill and Charles: We would like to thank all of our friends and family for the overwhelming support we have received during this difficult period of our lives. We could not get through this without you. Especially our Mother, without whom we would still be an absolute wreck, THANK YOU for all of your support!

Bill and Charles will host a luncheon immediately following the service, please contact them for directions and further information at or

In lieu of flowers the family suggests that you make a donation in Richard's name to the following:

Make a Wish Foundation: To take a child camping, fishing, flying or whatever their dream may be. MAKE A WISH ON LINE DONATION: