Phyllis Graham (née Guilford), died on Sunday April 3, 2022 at her son's home in Leeds, MA surrounded by family. She was born on January 11, 1929 in Wauseon Ohio to George and Emma (Baer) Guilford. She married Hugh Graham of Cambridge, MA on July 9, 1955. She is survived by her seven children: Martha Oakes and her husband Bob; Hugh Jr. and his wife Judy; Mark and his wife Kris; Steven and his wife Therese; James and his wife Cybele Merrick; Matthew, Peter and his wife Elizabeth; 12 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren and her sister Wanda. She joins her husband Hugh, her brother Gerald, her sister Donna and her great grandchild Leah LaCroix in the hereafter.
Phyllis grew up in Adrian Michigan. Her early memories were of life on a farm near her hometown where her parents moved to survive the depression years. It was a life of hard work, love and a good share of antics. After high school Phyllis trained to be a nurse at Mercy College in Detroit, graduating in 1951. Not long after earning her degree she and a friend sought adventure by getting on a train to Denver Colorado. Without further plans than adventure, they lucked into nursing jobs at Pitkin County Hospital in Aspen, Colorado that provided room and board and a steady business of skiers' breaks and sprains.
Her plan to travel to Alaska for more adventure was interrupted by the arrival of Hugh Graham, a handsome ski bum fresh out of Harvard College. Little did she know that sneaking him meals from the hospital commissary would become a lifetime of providing on the domestic front. They both moved back east and settled in Monson, MA where Hugh worked in the public schools and Phyllis did the heavy lifting of raising seven children. There was still room for adventure, however, with ski vacations in the White Mountains and camping trips all around the country.
When all but the youngest of her children were out of high school, Phyllis went back to school herself to get a teaching degree. She taught special needs for 18 years at Pathfinder Regional Vocational high school in Palmer, MA treasuring the camaraderie of both her students and her colleagues.
In retirement, she and Hugh set out for more travels around the U.S. and Canada and to Europe as well. Phyllis was proud of winning medals in amateur skiing and tennis competitions but it was painting in oils and water colors that gave her particular pleasure and pride. She shared her enthusiasm for art as a docent at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, MA.
When Hugh required regular help with daily life in his later years, Phyllis donned her nurse’s cap again to provide her signature loving care. Her final years found her struggling with Parkinson’s disease but she faced it with a stubborn resilience learned on the farm in those early depression years. Her loving spirit and good nature will continue to be a guiding light to her children and friends.
Liturgy of Christin Burial will be celebrated, Saturday May 14, 2022 at 11am in St. Patrick's Church Green Street Monson MA, Burial will take place Monday May 16th in the Bourne National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers you are invited to support the D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts at https://56082.blackbaudhosting.com/56082/All-Museums, Attn: Linda Larrivee 21 Edwards St Springfield, MA 01103
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