It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Marlys June Graham (Coates) – a loving and devoted mother, grandmother, wife and friend to all those she touched.  She died on October 28, 2019 at the Berwick Royal Oak in Victoria, BC.

Mom was born on June 7, 1929 in Nashua, Iowa to Myrtle (Bennett) and Dale Coates.  Marlys, and her twin sister, Marilyn, were the youngest of seven children, originally living on the family farm and then moving into the town of Nashua.  She remembered much from these years and would recount wonderful experiences from her early life.

She married James (Jim) R. Graham on January 9, 1949 and then moved to southern Alberta as the wife of a dry-land farmer.  In 1962, they left the farm and moved the family to Lethbridge, then retired to Surrey BC in 1985.  Jim died on September 13, 1999 and she lived independently since.

She is survived by her twin sister, Marilyn Myall; her three children, Jamie Torry, Sheila (Don) Strauch, and Derek Graham (Terri); grandchildren Alicia (Jon) Mossing, Tracy (Riley) Strauch, Angela (Dan) Heinrich Torry, Andrew (Lisa) Torry, Megan (Mike) Torry, Emma Graham, Sally Graham; and great-granddaughters Arianna and Isabelle Mossing and great-grandson Dante S. Torry.  She has many Canadian and American relatives as well and always enjoyed hearing from them.

Mom made many friends in Warner, Lethbridge, Whitefish, Montana, and then Surrey BC.  Too many to name here but she cherished and had memories of everyone and loved to stay in touch.   Mom and Dad enjoyed traveling and often loaded all the family into the car and drove to Nashua to enjoy memorable holidays.  She loved gardening and took pride in growing wonderful flowers and vegetables.  She made delicious home-made buns, breads and pies.  Her American English influenced her pronunciation and the family would laugh when she had to “warsh” the clothes or take a trip south to “Missoura”.  She always kept a spotless home and is remembered for her abundant use of the vacuum cleaner to collect every particle of dirt.  Mom enjoyed playing bridge with friends and would relish those times when she got the top score.  Golf was also her passion continuing to play to 2018 when she got a hole in one at age 89.  She was like the Energizer Bunny – she just kept going and going until she just couldn’t anymore.

Her last few months of life were spent with visits from all of her immediate family and many of her close friends.  Many coming far distances that expressed how much she meant to them and for this we know she is so thankful.  A wonderful friendship was made with Phyllis Hoffman at the Berwick Royal Oak and they had many good times together.  She left this life knowing she was greatly loved and admired.  Now she can rest in the arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.  The children will be planning a trip to Nashua in 2020 to inter her remains at the family plot.

Many thanks to Dr. Rosenberg and his staff, and the Royal Oak Berwick staff for being so helpful these past months.

We request those who wish to make a donation in Mom’s name to the Cancer Research Foundation, or any other organization doing research on brain tumors and cancer.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

  • Kash

    To Derek and family: I am sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. I only ever met her once but I believe that everyone we meet in our lives adds a thread to weave of the fabric of we are. It is wonderful that you had her nearby for her final years. I hope that you will find comfort in your memories during this sad time.

    Take care.


  • Carol Cronkhite

    To the entire Graham family, I read about Marlys’s passing in the Lethbridge Herald. I was not very old when your family left Warner but I always thought that Marly’s was one of the most beautiful ladies I had ever met. On behalf of the entire Ivan and Betty Norris family, we are sending our sympathies.

    Darcy and Carol (Norris) Cronkhite

  • Anne Matteotti

    I was so very saddened to hear of the passing of my dear friend Marlys. She & her hubby Jim were neighbors in Lethbridge for a number of years. They were wonderful people and good friends. I have fond memories of bridge games and occasional dinners together. After they moved to BC, Marlys and I kept in touch via the internet.
    Condolences to the family. I’m sure she will be greatly missed.

    Anne Matteotti

  • Emma Graham

    I’m so grateful for all of the time spent and memories made with my grandma. She was strong, independent, caring, and devoted to her family. Some of my favourite memories with grandma were going through her many photo albums, as her stories and memories were of a life surrounded by friends and family. Thank you for the all of lessons you taught me, I miss you already. Love Emma

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