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Carole K. Graham


1927 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Carole K. Graham Obituary
November 21, 1927 - October 31, 2017 Carole Kresheck Graham, of Sherman Oaks, CA, announced she'd lived long enough and stopped her heart on Halloween night, just before midnight. She always knew how to make a memorable exit. Carole spent much of her Two Rivers, Wisconsin childhood in a brownstone hotel and pub owned by her parents and frequented by an assortment of town scalawags, drunks and vagabonds. She had some of her happiest memories from these times. The great comedic actress Carole Lombard died in a plane crash when Carole was a kid, so she added an 'e' to her name in her honor. She kept it that way the rest of her life. After college, in the 1950s, Carole wanted to work in the UN and try to end the Cold War. She needed a letter of recommendation from her senator, Joe McCarthy, who, unfortunately, was making a profitable career out of the Cold War. He wrote a letter refusing to give a recommendation and suggesting she pursue instead a career in "homemaking or secretarial services." She was a liberal Democrat but she married a conservative Republican, Donald W. Graham, because they fell in love. They were married for 62 years. She said she never felt better than when she was pregnant. She owned and operated a drugstore in Phoenix with her husband for 10 years while raising two small kids. Without a nanny. Her IQ and bowling scores were both extraordinarily high. She was equally comfortable with people from all walks of life. Among her good friends were the Director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and a 40-year-old guy who still delivered newspapers. For several years, she tutored the little girl next door, who was having trouble in school. The girl finished law school and is now an attorney in Washington, DC. Carole was a petite woman, and one of her heroes was Muggsy Bogues, who, despite being only five-foot three, played in the NBA for 10 years. She kept his bobblehead on her shelf and would use him to teach a lesson about not letting your limitations keep your from achieving your dreams. At her 60th high school reunion, she was annoyed when the band quit at midnight, and she had to stop dancing. Like so many mothers, she had a complicated relationship with her daughter. Yet when she got older, Carole wanted to be near her daughter, Jill, her son-in-law, Ed Fifer, and grandson, Nicholas. And for 20 years, they lived only a block away from each other. After her husband died, Carole moved to California to be closer to her son, Clay, a TV writer and producer. In her last three years, they were able to play almost 150 games of Scrabble. When she started to consider her mortality, Carole asked that her ashes be placed in a bowling pin and displayed on her son's mantle. Later, she came to her senses and asked that she be scattered near her husband, on a secluded cliff overlooking the sea in Oregon. Whales pass below the point in the winter and spring, and when you look straight out, it's just shiny blue sea as far as the eye can see.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Nov. 23 to Nov. 25, 2017
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