Ben Graham Obituary – The Reno Journal-Gazette and Mason Valley News

Ben Graham

Ben Graham was born to Ralph Bennie and Marie Graham in Corvallis, Oregon in 1942 and grew up on a farm. As a child, Ben loved participating in 4-H with his chickens and playing the piano. He always said he could learn to play any song on the spot for a penny.

While in high school, Ben met US Senator Wayne Morse, who became a friend and mentor. Ben attended Oregon State University and American University where he worked for Senator Morse and as a Capitol Police officer in Washington, D.C. Ben returned to Oregon to attend law school at Willamette University College of Law while teaching speech therapy classes; he graduated with honors.

Ben practiced law for eight years in Dallas, Oregon, during which time he was also chairman of the Board of Mentally Handicapped Adults and a member of the Eagles and Elks.

In 1977 Ben moved to Las Vegas to become a prosecutor in the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. He served as Chief Assistant District Attorney and lobbyist for the Association of District Attorneys. In this position, which he held for 30 years, Ben helped shape much of today’s Nevada criminal law and received numerous awards for his work. It was also during this time that Ben perfected his famous chocolate chip cookies. Along with his wife, Elana, Ben baked between 5,000 and 10,000 cookies a year to give as gifts to friends and loved ones. Ben also taught criminal justice for 29 years at UNLV and CSN. After this satisfying career, Ben proudly continued to contribute to Nevada law as an attorney/lobbyist for the Nevada Supreme Court for 14 years.

Ben married Elana Turner in 1978, who was the love of his life for 43 years. Together they had four children and ten grandchildren.

Ben’s proudest and most notable accomplishment was co-founding the Nevada State Bar’s Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) program with Coe Swobe, Esq. and retired judge Michael Cherry. This program helps lawyers with substance abuse issues. Over the years, LCL has quietly assisted countless Nevada attorneys and Ben has received multiple state bar awards for over 30 years of pro bono service with the program.

Ben experienced his greatest heartache in 2012 when he lost his beautiful, caring and brilliant daughter, Caroline, at the age of 30 after a long battle with breast cancer.

Ben loved his family and God, his neighbor, his farm and his daffodils in Oregon. He overcame many challenges in his life which made him an extremely kind person who helped so many people without ever expecting anything in return. Ben has mentored many new lawyers and lobbyists. He was a member of Christ Church Episcopal where he served in the vestry and volunteered at Lobster Fair and other events.

To his children and their spouses, Ben was a true hero, a close confidant and a constant source of support and endless love. His warm smile and hug always brought comfort. He was incredibly close to his children and was a loving grandfather, developing a special and unique relationship with each of his grandchildren. His children enjoyed and cherish the memories of traveling the 50 states as a family, on a road trip from Las Vegas to Maine. Ben was a daily fixture in the lives of his children and grandchildren until his dying day.

Ben is survived by his wife, Elana Turner Graham, his seven children and their spouses, 19 grandchildren, a nephew and a niece and their families. His children from his first marriage are Wayne, Lynmarie, Ben and Lorissa. From his marriage to Elana, his children and their wives are Turner and Nicole, Luana and Frank, and Elana Lee and Seth.

A celebration of life will be held at Christ Church Episcopal at 2000 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89104 on February 17, 2022 at 3 p.m. The service will be broadcast on The family is requesting that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Ben’s daughter’s 501(c)(3) memorial foundation. Please address your checks to the Caroline Graham-Lamberts Loving Life Foundation ( and mail to Elana Graham, 7121 Doe Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89117, or you can donate via PayPal to Foundation or @carolinesfoundation.

Posted on February 08, 2022

Posted in Reno Gazette-Journal

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