The Norman Transcript


March 26, 2013

Ben Graves continues to be passionate about life, business

NORMAN — As I continue the series of articles on the aging process and how it influences creative people in Norman, I elected to interview, not only my first architecture employer, yet the most influential individual in my life when it came to the development of my approach to the practice of architecture — Ben Graves.

Our relationship began while I was a junior in the architecture school at OU, almost 40 years ago. I was enrolled in the preceptorship program, designed to place students in architecture firms, allowing the student a broad-based work experience while in school.

Ben had just opened his architecture practice not more than two years before he hired me; I was in fact, his first employee. He had rented space on Campus Corner with the vision of his firm becoming a highly successful entity in school design and development in Norman.

At the time I came to work, Ben was already building houses in various subdivisions around town. He also had started limited residential development projects. I spent time sweeping floor slabs at construction projects learning the ropes on the construction process, which I applied later in undertaking design/build myself.

My education focus incorporated an excessive amount of time going to school board meetings across the state. At the time, I considered Ben extremely competent, self-assured and personable on one hand, yet extremely egotistical and abrasive on the other hand. He was not tolerant of people he perceived as having little or no ambition. There were few people that I knew who had his level of passion for perfection, looking back; I can say I still haven’t met many with his drive. He took a no-holds-barred approach to life and work and did not allow anyone to get in the way of pursuing and completing a project, when he thought we were the only ones that could do a competent job. This was 100 percent of the time. In order to arrive to the school board meetings on time (often two to three a day), he sped through life in his Porsche 911 Targa Carrera.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Senior organizations that appeal to conservatives

    Dear Savvy Senior, Can you recommend any advocacy organizations for seniors other than AARP? I cut up my AARP card a few years back when they supported Obamacare and am now looking for another organization that better represents me....

    July 29, 2014

  • Seniors adjust to different sleep patterns

    According to the National Institutes of Health, older adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, sleep patterns change with age; this is often evident in the nursing home population. Frequent causes of interrupted sleep ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Ceremony marks opening of community center

    A July 23 ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the addition of another feature to the Chickasaw Nation Carter service campus in Ardmore....

    July 27, 2014

  • Chickasaw Cultural Center a terrific place to visit

    SULPHUR — The Chickasaw Cultural Center is a magnificent tribute to a proud people and their storied heritage. Located an easy hour’s drive south from Norman, it’s among the finest travel destinations in Oklahoma. Set on 109 scenic acres, ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisoner re-entry planning for offenders with mental illness

    People leaving incarceration face a variety of challenges even without a diagnosis of mental illness. But for those who face mental health issues, re-entry into society can be troublesome. That is the topic in the first of the 2014 Fall ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Exhibit takes families on food expedition

    If your palate enjoys culinary diversity or if you’re interested in introducing new flavors to your family, join the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in tasting international delights and create your own treat during Family ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Resident makes art in new home

    There’s an old saying about a picture being “worth a thousand words,” which took on a literal meaning recently....

    July 27, 2014

  • Parents should work on themselves first

    I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they’re having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the problem — they are. All this time (however long ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014