Adventures by Waltonwood Program Uniquely Honors 90-Year-Old Navy Veteran

June 20, 2023

CARY, NC — On June 26, Waltonwood Senior Living uniquely honored one of its residents as part of its Adventures by Waltonwood program. Adventures by Waltonwood is designed to create enriching, personalized experiences for residents that reflect their unique passions and histories.

Waltonwood Cary Parkway honored the life and service of Navy veteran and former judge, Pat Graybeal. The special tribute took place on the USS North Carolina, a distinguished WWII battleship which now functions as a museum and memorial in Wilmington, NC. Waltonwood even had a special surprise in store for Graybeal.

From left: Jill Graybeal (Pat’s wife), Pat Graybeal, Nancy Graybeal McNeill (Pat’s daughter), and Bill McNeill (Nancy’s husband).

Accompanied by his daughter and Waltonwood staff, Graybeal was taken on a journey that reflects his significant military past. His service — spanning assignments from San Diego to Korea, and aboard the USS Jennings County (LST-846) during the Vietnam War — laid the foundation for a life committed to service. After two decades in the Naval Reserves, Graybeal embarked on a path as a prosecutor and judge, which he chronicled in his memoir, Justice and Luck. In his book, Graybeal shared a narrative of resilience, including the harrowing experience of surviving a home bombing that had been orchestrated by a convict that Graybeal had sentenced; he lost both of his hands in the explosion.

Younger Pat Graybeal

In Wilmington, Waltonwood and museum representatives surprised Graybeal with a letter from North Carolina State Senator Gale Adcock that further acknowledged his dedicated service. The day culminated with a guided tour of the USS North Carolina, the most decorated American battleship from WWII, which now stands as a memorial for the 11,000 North Carolinians who fell in service.

The USS North Carolina visit exemplified the Adventures by Waltonwood program’s commitment to delivering meaningful experiences that connect with residents’ pasts, passions, and dreams.

Waltonwood Senior Living offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care services in Michigan, North Carolina, and Virginia. Each community provides residents with a maintenance-free lifestyle so they can enjoy all the comforts of their own home.

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