It is with much love that we mourn the passing of Javier Graves, age 26, who went to his Heavenly home on September 27, 2023 in Austin, Texas. To know Javi was to love him. He had a radiant smile and vivacious, catching laugh. He was a bright light who touched many lives in his short time here.
Javier Esteban Graves was born December 3, 1996, in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of Leroy Ruddock and Sabina Leal (Graves). He graduated from Burnsville High School and was studying Biomedical Science with dreams to become a Neurosurgeon.
Javier was an imaginative and bright child with an intense desire to explore and learn. He dreamed of being a doctor from an early age, and was determined and committed to helping others. A second-generation American, he spent several years of his childhood living in his mother’s home country of Panamá, where he excelled in his studies and found his passion for travel. He returned to Minnesota in 2009 and graduated from Burnsville High School in 2015. After graduating, he was admitted to Arizona State University and moved to Phoenix.
It was there, working at PHX International Airport, that he met Aundra Bechle in 2016. They were inseparable, immediate best friends. It was fate; as they had grown up only 196 miles apart, but met 1,600 miles from Javier’s hometown. They adopted their adored fur-baby, Della, in 2017, and their family began. After two years together in Phoenix, they packed up and moved to Austin, Texas for a new adventure. They eloped on the shores of Isla Taboga in Panamá on June 15th, 2019.
In early 2022, Javier was upgraded to his favorite title: Dada. His daughter, Emalia, was the absolute pride and joy of his life, and they were inseparable. He was a doting father and took every opportunity he had to show her off. Though his departure is profound, his light and spirit radiates on through her.
Beloved for his infectious personality, he shone bright at Pete’s Piano Bar, where he was a bartender. He had a unique charisma that allowed him to create friendships and connections with others, and his presence was overflowing with authentic joy. The lights of Austin will be dimmer without him.
Javier had many interests, though his passion was in helping others and covering them with his love. He enjoyed playing basketball and golf, taking his kayak out to fish, playing chess, watching his favorite anime, One Piece, and he had a deep love for reading and learning. He looked forward to taking walks around Lady Bird Lake with his family and spending quality time with friends.
Javi will be forever remembered by his loving wife of 4 years, Aundra Graves, and his daughter Emalia, age 1. He was a proud and devoted husband and father, and his legacy of love, kindness, and ambition will live on in them.
Other surviving family includes his father, Leroy Ruddock; mother Sabina Leal; brothers Joshua Graves and Jairo Leal; sister and brother-in-law Janina and Angel Ortiz Leal; sister Kiera Ruddock; sister Willow Ruddock, father-in-law and mother-in-law Joseph and Ann Bechle; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Alicia and Derek Soczka; brother-in-law Trae Bechle; as well as nephews Jairo, Amelio, and Miguel; nieces Natalia, Naomi and Ava. He was further loved by numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
A celebration of life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, at South Austin Beer Garden. The family welcomes all who knew and loved Javi to come and share their memories.
A GoFundMe was set up in Javier’s honor to help his family cover costs of the celebration of life, relocating, medical bills, and securing his daughter’s future.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.