Preston McGraw Obit -- United Press Internation

DENTON, Texas, June 2, 2009 -- Alvin Preston McGraw, whose journalistic career included 42 years with United Press International bureaus across the United States, died at the age of 94.

McGraw died May 26 at a retirement facility in Denton, Texas, his daughter said.

McGraw joined United Press in 1938 in New Orleans and signed his application "A.P. McGraw." Noting the initials were the same as the rival Associated Press, McGraw went by "Preston" from then on.

He was posted to a series of bureaus, including Dallas where he was on the team of reporters at Parkland Memorial Hospital when President John F. Kennedy was shot. He was also assigned to cover the funeral of Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963.

McGraw became part of that story when police said they needed pallbearers and Preston volunteered to carry the coffin at Fort Worth, Texas, cemetery.

McGraw received special commendation for his coverage of the 1951 Kansas City flood. He and Bryce Miller were commended for their stories on the Little Rock school integration beginning in 1957. And he was the key reporter for the Jack Ruby murder trial and the Kennedy-connected Clay Shaw trial in New Orleans.

McGraw retired in 1980, having worked for the wire service for 42 years.

McGraw was born April 9, 1915, in Centreville, Miss., and attended Louisiana State University. While in college he began his career in journalism at The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge, La.

He was working in New York when the United States entered World War II and, after being drafted, worked for the Army News Service and Stars and Stripes.

His wife, Marjorie, died in 2000. McGraw is survived by a daughter, Susan, and son, John. He was buried during a private ceremony in Dallas.

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