The city of Graham lost one of its most prominent citizens on Monday, Feb. 17.
Bill Spivey died on President’s Day, and many locals and city leaders remember him and his role in the development of Graham with fondness.
The current business landscape of Graham owes a great debt to Spivey, who in 1956 built and operated the Dairy King on Highway 16 and Dairyland (now Sonny’s BBQ on Fourth Street) along with several other local drive-in restaurants. Spivey also developed the elevated land above Fireman’s Park now known by Grahamites as Spivey Hill.
He was born in Graham in 1927, and early on showed a great love of the rodeo and rodeo related activities. For years Spivey rode bulls and performed routines with his trick mule “Shirley.” He also loved rodeo clowning. “He was a good rodeo clown,” Young County Judge John Bullock related. “He pawned a burro off on me, and that burro turned into the dangdest pet and pest. Bill talked me into taking that Jack over a period of about three or four weeks. We called him Billie Jack. He stayed with us for about 10 years.”
He began working in the oil business after ending his rodeo career, and from there he became a key figure in the development of Graham starting in the 1950s.
Among other area leaders, Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1 Jim Ross said that on top of counting him as a friend, he always admired Spivey’s business savvy and ability to turn his grand ideas into reality.