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Ella Graves

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BENNINGTON -- Mrs. Ella F. Graves, wife of Van Vechten B. Graves, a resident of the Village at Fillmore Pond, died peacefully Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005, at her residence following a short illness. She had observed her 94th birthday in November.

Born in Bennington, on Nov. 26, 1910, she was the daughter of the late Michael James and Bridget (Powers) Fitzgerald. She received her education in Bennington and was a 1928 graduate of the former Bennington High School.

During her high school years, she served as coach of the woman’s basketball team.

Mr. and Mrs. Graves were married in Bennington on Nov. 4, 1939, and last year they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

Following high school, Mrs. Graves was employed as secretary in the office of Henry B. Walbridge Insurance Agency. Later she was employed at Twin State Gas and Electric Company where she became office manager. After leaving Twin State, Mrs. Graves became associated with the Bennington Museum under its first curator, John Spargo and was for many years thereafter the treasurer. She also served as a trustee of the museum and was later awarded the General Stark Award in honor of her long time service.

Mrs. Graves later became the private secretary for the late Ferdinand L. Mayer, a retired diplomat, and served as such for more than 40 years.

During the war, while Mr. Mayer was in Washington, D.C., she managed his farm which was located on the old Airport Road, in the Whipstock area.

Mrs. Graves shared a lifelong interest in sport. She was an avid golfer and a longtime member of the Mt. Anthony Country Club and Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown, Mass. At one time she served as president of the Vermont State Women’s Golf Association.

Along with her devoted husband she shared a longtime interest in gardening.

She was a member of the Bennington Garden Club and a past president of the Plain Dirt Gardeners; and was a member of the Garden Club of America. She also served as clerk of the Center Cemetery Association and served on the board of the Old Bennington Library for many years.

She is survived by her husband, Van Vechten B. Graves and a son, Peter Q. Graves, both of Bennington. Survivors also include a granddaughter, Katherine G. Bowen; a grandson, William R. Graves, of Putney; and a nephew, John Y. C. Graves of East Hampton, N.Y. Mrs. Graves was predeceased by two sisters and a brother, Anastasia Foley, Alice M. Fitzgerald and Edward J. Fitzgerald.

She was a longtime communicant of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church.

The funeral will be held from Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2005, at 10 a.m. where the liturgy of Christian death and burial will be offered.

At the request of the family there will be no calling hours.

Burial will take place in the family lot in the Bennington Centre Cemetery in the spring.

Should friends desire, contributions in memory of Mrs. Graves may be made to either VNA & Hospice of Southwestern Vermont Health Care or the Bennington Rescue Squad through the office of the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201.
Published in Bennington Banner on Jan. 20, 2005
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