Missing Burgess man remembered by family

A hard-working father of three whose body was found over the weekend will be missed by his family.

Gerald Graham, 53, of the Burgess community was reported missing a week ago and was found Saturday by searchers with Myrtle Beach police, the CUE Center for missing people and his family, authorities said. He was last seen leaving the 3rd Avenue Sports Bar and Grill at 1102 Third Avenue South in Myrtle Beach April 18.

Graham’s daughter Cassandra Hemingway said it wasn’t unusual for her father, who she described as a strong and determined man, to walk home. But, she said he liked to be home and loved working outside at Freewood Farms. She said when he wasn’t home April 20 and when he didn’t show up for work April 21, she knew something was wrong.

Horry County deputy coroner Darris Fowler said the cause of death remains pending additional testing which could take as long as 90 days, but said nothing in the autopsy suggested foul play and his death appears natural.

Searchers on Saturday found his body near the corner of a road near Coastal Grand Mall, she said. A few hours later, Hemingway said one of her cousins walked close enough to the woods on Seaboard Street and Harrelson Boulevard and saw Graham’s shoes.

Hemingway said she wishes her father had been found sooner, but that finding him was a blessing.

“I hate the way things went, but God don’t make no mistakes,” she said. “I found my daddy and that’s what matters to me now. He didn’t get to make it home, so I’m going to give him the proper home and burial that he deserves.”

She said her father was a jitterbug and loved music and that she’ll miss his spirit because he was “a joy to be around.”

“He liked all kinds of music,” she said. “If you put it on and it had a beat, he was going to dance to it. That was just the way my daddy was.”

Hemingway and her family are planning a memorial service which will be held later this week at Freewood Farms.

Graham also had two sons.