Obituary of Beverley "Bev" Graham
Beverley Anne Graham
Our beloved Bev passed away July 23rd after 3½ years of kidney dialysis. She made the decision to stop her treatment on July 11th and her remaining time was spent in the care of staff at the Arnprior Hospital where she was shown much respect and given their loving tender care; she also received very special care from the team at the Renfrew Dialysis Unit. Bev was born in 1932 and raised in Peterborough Ontario, the second daughter to Percy and Eleanor Martyn. She is survived by her husband of 66 years (Al), son Reid of Arnprior, daughter Allison of Cochrane Alberta, sister Margaret Fowler (late Jim) of Bonita Springs, Florida, brother-in-law Jack (late Irene) of Hamilton and many nieces and nephews. Bev was predeceased by her parents, her sister Capt. Patricia Martyn and brother Robert Martyn. Bev showed an early interest in sports and the arts, entering Ballet class, Ornamental (synchronized) Swimming, and piano. She eventually learned to downhill ski and that was a favourite winter pastime of hers. She and Al married in 1957 and started their life tour, which saw them live in Kingston as Al was finishing his degree, the Niagara peninsula, Switzerland, Sorel-Tracy, Quebec and eventually to Arnprior. Bev was a loving wife, mother and friend and would gladly step forward to assist others who needed assistance, most of which she did quietly, not drawing attention to her involvement. Bev made many friends and became involved in church activities and volunteer groups everywhere she lived. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Kidney Foundation of Canada or the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. Cremation has taken place, and a service in Bev’s memory will be held in Emmanuel Anglican Church, 287 Harrington St, Arnprior on Saturday July 29th, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Boyce Funeral Home Ltd., 138 Daniel Street N., Arnprior.
EULOGY – BEV GRAHAM
My name is David Fowler.
My Mom Margaret is Bev’s younger sister, and we had the opportunity to spend many happy times with the Grahams, especially in the younger years at my grandpa and Grandma Martyn’s place in Peterborough and at the cottage in Sudbury.
I am very pleased to be here to remember her and say a few words about her life before she moved to Arnprior. Then I will turn it over to Hal Leitch.
Mom and I had the opportunity to visit Bev just a couple of weeks ago, and for the sisters to have one last visit and remembrance. They were good friends as well as sisters, and were raised in a loving and strict family, where every penny was counted and there were boarders to feed, and a big garden to tend.
Bev was born April 8, 1932 to Percy and Eleanor Martyn in Peterborough, Ontario. A baby sister to Patricia and a soon to be older sister to Margaret and Robert.
Bev was afflicted with Tuberculosis from 3-7 years old. For a young girl this was quite a hardship but she was fortunate to be able to stay at home due to the layout of the house and the support she received from her parents and others. Even though she was not able to play with the other kids, she took the opportunity to instruct and direct the neighborhood kids as they played, a trait that would be constant throughout her life.
On the way home from our last visit, driving through the Calabogie hills, Mom shared some memories of their childhood, and especially that Bev had had more than her share of difficult health problems, all of her life, starting with TB, and yet throughout she remained a cheerful and positive person. It was never easy for Bev, my Mom said, her health was always a concern, and yet even from very young Bev always took the
positive with her sharp wit and lopsided smile.
Bev always knew what she wanted and wasn't afraid to pursue her goals. For example, in 1952, she was at a wedding with her beau when she met a young lad from Hamilton. A few months later this young soon to be engineer, was contacted by a friend advising him that the young lady from Peterborough wanted him to be her escort at an upcoming wedding. They were married on September 14, 1957 in Peterborough and moved to Kingston while Al finished his studies at Queens.
Upon graduation, Al and Bev moved to Welland, Ontario. Reid was born in 1960, followed by daughter, Allison in 1961. Bev and Al also established a circle of great friends who would last a lifetime.
Bev was a loving and caring mother to her two kids, yet she took great pleasure in telling how that may not have been the case when they were very young! While living in Welland, Bev had to go Buffalo, New York to see a dermatologist. She would often do some extra-curricular shopping while south of the border, and felt having to stop at Canada Customs and declare these purchases was a huge waste of time. So when
approaching Customs, she would lean in to the back seat and pinch either Reid or Allison, who would dutifully scream their respective heads off! She got waved through the border each time and Reid and Allison don’t seem to have suffered any long-term effects as a result.
A move to Switzerland presented itself in 1965, so the Graham's were off to the land of mountains and chocolate. Bev had skied in Peterborough but it was overseas where she, Al and the kids really honed their lifelong love of skiing.
It was through Bev and Al that my brother Mike and I were first introduced to skiing. The Grahams invited us for a week of skiing at Mont Orford where they had rented a chalet and it was our first introduction to the thrill of mountain skiing. Yet the strongest memory of that time was the après skiing. Bev and Al were the life of the party, Bev skewering everyone with her sharp wit. They wore long gowns, like Franciscan monks,
except also with, well, hoodies. They also had special glass holders suspended around their necks, so they could drink and talk using both hands. We didn’t know it at the time, but yes it is true. Bev and Al took my brother and I to our first toga party!
Bev really never saw the need to hold her tongue and especially if she felt something needed to be said. When she first met the local butcher in Switzerland, he made the grave error of referring to Bev as an American. Not one to be offended easily, she called him a Frenchman, which is a great insult to the Swiss as he told her. Bev repliedthat she was Canadian NOT American. He never made that mistake again and they
frequently exchanged recipes and she became a favorite customer. Bev was always a
Al was then transferred to Tracy, Quebec where they expanded their circle of friends. Living in Quebec during the late ‘60s and 70s was an interesting time, part of which was due to the original Trudeaumania. Al’s company had purchased a table at a Liberal fundraiser and executives and their wives attended. Pierre Elliot Trudeau was in attendance and when the opportunity arose, Bev cut in and danced with him. Bev took
this occasion to ask him what he was going to do to end the nickel strike. He smoothly replied that that was a “Provincial matter Madam" and there was little he could do about it. When Bev related this story to her brother-in-law, a conservative accountant and executive with Inco he could only answer “harrumph”. Bev and Pierre got the last word that day.
Bev had a strong sense of what was right and you could count on her to stand up for herself and others, usually with wry humour, a determined smile and a capacity to say the truth.
Reid and Allison remember the middle of a frigid Quebec winter and Al working in Montreal and was out very early in the morning. Many mornings the hot water heater didn’t work, which “Dad the Engineer” had fixed by putting a pencil in the reset button and voila – hot water. Dad had replaced the fuse box, at Hydro Quebec’s advice but at his own cost. Still the problem persisted. So finally Mom decided to pay a visit to the local Hydro Quebec Manager. He listened to her and said he would meet her at the house. Instead she said that she would prefer to follow him in her own car. When he saw the pencil on top of the water heater and Bev explained what it was for, and only after a heated discussion, he agreed to replace the water heater. Bev then explained that she would be reducing the next Hydro payment by the amount they had paid for the
new fuse box, as that wasn’t the problem. I am sure she smiled when he finally agreed; she got what she felt was right.
I think of my Aunt Bev as kind of a small town Carol Burnett. There was a physical similarity that they shared, and if she didn’t have her red hair, she had the same sensibility, with the same sparkle and watching eyes, and with the same big lopsided smile; and when she spoke, and of course, her sharp with and steady wisecracking.
I could imagine, if there is such a place, Bev and Carol exchanging wisecracks while Pierre looked on and probably Bev would have a special drink glass. You know, for “talking”.
Thank you David.
My name is Hal Leitch. The grahams have asked me to offer a few words about ourfriend Bev.
My wife Charlotte and I moved to Ottawa Street 20 years ago, and it was then we met Bev and All and family. We all shared membership in the Emmanuel Anglican Church and a good friendship evolved with our new neighbours.
Bev & Al moved their family here in 1975. Bev, raised in the Church of England, had always been active in Anglican life. Sunday School teacher, camp counselor at Camp Couchiching, Alter Guild, flower convenor, Anglican Church Women, Synod, reader coordinator, and Pastoral Care. Bev encouraged her children by example. Reid and Allison participated in various ways, including serving the Clergy.
Bev expanded her volunteer duties to the Arnprior Hospital Auxiliary. She was a trusted confidante to many and respected those shared secrets to the end. She was a member of the IODE and through that charitable organization she helped selflessly without recognition or gratitude ... because it was her pleasure. Her children followed her lead in the volunteering ethic and passion in their own lives.
Bev was an avid skier. She taught newcomers at Calabogie Peaks how to navigate
down the hills. The whole family enjoyed skiing together.
A story: Bev had an accident and broke her leg. While recovering from surgery in the hospital, the Doctor (head of orthopedics) came by to check on Bev’s progress. He also brought his entourage of medical students. Not this Dr. made the mistake of saying to Bev “Well Mrs. Graham, no more skiing for you”. Bev responded by telling him directly “to leave and come back with a better attitude”. The look on the medical students’ faces was priceless. The Dr. returned (without the entourage) and apologized. Bev was the
first one down the ski hill next winter season.
Dinner parties were always a particular pleasure at Al & Bev’s house. You got a warm welcome and Bev’s culinary skills were wonderful, especially her baking. Friends old and young who dropped in went home enjoying her treats. Me too!
Bev really enjoyed hosting – whether drop in for coffee or Bridge Club gatherings. She was always at the centre of the fun and laughter.
Bev’s sense of humour and keen and candid observations were known to all. Charlotte
and I shared some great Halloween and New Year’s Eve’s with Bev & All. Good times.
The Grahams are good people.
Bev maintained a positive attitude throughout her life, in spite of sometimes disturbing
and challenging health issues.
Another story –
It was decided that Bev needed a mastectomy. When they wheeled her into the OR and removed the sheet over her chest – attached to one side was a post-it note saying “get the correct one!” The surgeon posted the note on the OR wall, then had it framed for his office, and took it with him as he moved around the country.
A couple of personal stories –
I liked this lady. I enjoyed the banter we often shared. I would tell her I needed a girlfriend and try to chat her up in different ways. She would let me go on for a while – then look me in the eye with her twinkle and say bluntly “GIVE IT A BREAK!” We would all laugh happily.
Over the many months that Bev was receiving Dialysis at the Renfrew Hospital, I would sometimes driver her or bring her home after her 3-4 hour session, twice a week. We had wonderful chats as we drove along and I truly enjoyed her company.
BUT – I got upstaged. Another neighbor on Ottawa Street, John Cavill who is here today, sometimes would fill in. Now John has a Mustang Convertible. Bev would wrap a scarf around her head, get a big smile on her face and the two of them would take to the more interesting River Road up and back from Renfrew. I could not compete with that!
Ah, Elwood. Bev loved that Bassett Hound and he had personality.
After years of suffering with kidney failure, 2 weeks ago Bev made her own decision to end Dialysis Care. She knew exactly what she wanted. She took great care to personally thank each and every member of the Dialysis Team. There were many tears. Bev handled her illnesses with dignity and grace and true to form, she decided what was best for her.
As Allison said, “she was there for my first breath and I was there for her last.”
Let’s honour Bev and try not to be too sad that she is gone from us. Instead, be happy
that you crossed paths with this unique individual.
Bev had a real zeal for life and lived it to the fullest always. She has gone ahead to a
better place to be reunited with family, friends and pets. Although we are forever
changed without her, she did enrich our lives through her life. She is sorely missed.
Who We Are:
Boyce Funeral Home is one of the oldest, independently owned funeral homes in Canada.
138 Daniel Street North
Arnprior, Ontario K7S 2L3
Phone: (613) 623-2538
Fax: (613) 623-5628