Lois B. Graham, age 78, of Hegins, passed away Sunday, April 12, 2020, at her residence following a long battle with cancer.
Lois was born in Corning, NY to W. Gene Eshelman and Tillie V. Eshelman (both Hegins natives) and grew up in Hegins, PA. She attended Tri-Valley schools, graduating from Tri-Valley High School (1959), where she participated in marching band, choir, drama club and student government.
She worked at Twin Valley Farmers Exchange and as a candy striper at Good Samaritan Hospital. She played flute in the Hegins Community Band under her father’s direction. Lois was a proud Penn State graduate (1963, B.S. in Home Economics), who fondly remembered touring Europe and singing in historic cathedrals with the Penn State Chapel Choir.
After graduating from PSU, Lois moved to Liberty, NY, where she worked as an Extension Service Agent for Cornell University and met the love of her life, Kenneth Graham. The couple married in August 1964 and followed employment opportunities to Liberty, Brooklyn, and Middletown, NY. They had two children, Gregory and Courtney. The couple made many lifelong friends in their years in New York. Lois volunteered as a classroom mother for her children’s classes, was a Cub Scout den leader, and often led dinners and festivals for the church, youth groups or Boy Scouts.
Lois stayed home to care for her family until the children were in late elementary school, then worked as a substitute teacher, a teacher’s aide, and (after earning her masters degree and teaching certification at the NY State University, New Paltz) as a first grade teacher. She was well loved by students and staff. Lois enriched the lives of her students through music, performance opportunities, field trips and special classroom events. She maintained close friendships with her fellow teachers throughout her life.
While living in NY, Lois made frequent weekend and summer-long visits to Hegins to care for her parents throughout their elder years. Lois retired to Hegins in 2000 and became involved in the Rotary Club, TVHS class reunions, Craft Faire Committee, Spring Fling Charity Committee, Wine Festival, and Frieden’s United Church of Christ. She loved serving the community, worshipping in the beautiful UCC, decorating for holidays, traveling, arranging silk flowers, crafting, shopping, dressing up, visiting and babysitting her grandchildren, and celebrating holidays and special events with the family. Lois’s priority list was family first, community and church second, and her needs last.
Lois voiced her opinions with zest, while acting with good intentions and a giving heart. She was strong and determined, never complaining as she fought cancer repeatedly over the past several decades. Her final battle began on January 29th, with an emergency trip to Hershey Medical Center, where she stayed until her return home (under hospice care) on February 17th. Lois spent her last days with family and friends.
Lois is predeceased by her parents, Tillie and W. Gene Eshelman, and her brother, Leon Eshelman. She is survived by: her loving husband, Kenneth Graham; her son, Gregory Graham and wife Talitha “Bep” Graham; her daughter, Courtney Hall and husband Timothy Hall; and grandchildren, Eleanor Savage and spouse Eric Savage, Theodore Graham, Kenneth Hall and spouse Nicole Hall, Patrick Hall, and Deirdre Hall.
With concern for the well being of friends and family members, and in keeping with current social distancing measures due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the family will hold a private burial at Fountain Community Cemetery.
The family is planning a memorial celebration of Lois’s life to be held on August 8, 2020 for friends and family. Details will be shared when available.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Frieden’s United Church of Christ, P.O. Box 57, Hegins, PA 17938 or Advantage Home Health and Hospice 1502 Route 61 Highway South, Pottsville PA 17901.
Buffington-Reed Funeral Home, Valley View, is in charge of arrangements. Condolences can be left for the family at www.buffingtonreed.com