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Shirley J. Graham

Obituary
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Graham, Shirley (Southard) DELMAR Shirley (Southard) Graham, age 91, passed away peacefully in her home on February 25, 2013. Shirley was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. to the late Ida and Frank Southard. She grew up in Caldwell, N.J., attending Caldwell High School and Rutgers University. Shirley was predeceased by her husband, John Graham Jr.; and daughter, Janice Newkirk. Her memory is cherished by her son, John Graham III; son-in-law, Raymond Newkirk and Christy D'Amb-rosio; grandchi-ldren, Heather Baker-Eller and Michael Eller, John Graham IV, Sarah Newkirk and Steve Munch, Rachel (Newkirk) and Christopher McDonald, Leah (Newkirk), Matt Lang, Chandler Eller and Brandon Baker; and great-grandchildren, Logan and Orion Newkirk and Alexander and Jacob Lang. Her childhood during the depression left Shirley with a resilience and persistence that carried her through the challenges of a long full life. She lost her beloved daughter Janice too young and nursed her husband John as his health failed. Shirley studied home economics. She served as president of the Advisory Council for Somerset County Extension Service in New Jersey. Shirley was a master seamstress. She made wedding dresses including hand-made lace trim for her grandchildren. As a volunteer with the Embroiderers Guild, she made gold-embroidered curtains for the Executive Chambers of the Capitol Building. Shirley's extraordinary expertise allowed her to handle antique clothing at museums in Albany and Williamsburg, so that she could create replicas for Peebles Island Museum. She dined out and swam regularly. She laughed often and inspired others to as well. She danced at her 90th birthday party and rode a hot air balloon for her 80th. She traveled to Europe, South America and Africa. She hiked in the jungle and swam in the ocean. The older Shirley grew, the more she learned and embraced change. She relished politics, women's issues, the internet, financial software and investments, and discussions about all these topics. Each person Shirley met remembered her as someone who connected with them. Open, unfailingly cheerful and warm, Shirley made everyone feel that she cared individually for them, as she indeed did. She charmed everyone she met. Shirley's laughter, humor, warmth and generous spirit leaves us. But they go with her to grace those loved ones who preceded her. We, her family and friends left behind, will sorely miss those gifts. Relatives and friends are invited to call on Friday, March 1 from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Applebee Funeral Home, 403 Kenwood Ave., Delmar. A service will follow at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the funeral home. The family will also receive visitors on Saturday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the funeral home. Those who wish may send a remembrance in Shirley's name to one of her favorite charities: Food Pantries for the Capital District, 32 Essex St., Albany, NY 12208 or Habitat for Humanity, 454 N. Pearl St., Albany, NY 12204. applebeefuneralhome.com

Funeral Home
Applebee Funeral Home
403 Kenwood Ave. Delmar, NY 12054
518- 439-2715
Published in Albany Times Union from Feb. 28 to Mar. 1, 2013
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