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William Robert “Bill” Graham (2023)


Posted By: Pat Hochstetler
Date: 11/8/2023 at 18:02:54

Pearson Funeral Home
Creston, Iowa

Bill Graham, 71, of Pleasant Hill, formerly of Orient, IA, passed away Saturday, September 23, 2023 at Parkridge Nursing & Rehab in Pleasant Hill, IA. Funeral Services will be 11 AM, Saturday, September 30, 2023 at Pearson Family Funeral Service & Cremation Center in Creston, IA with Pastor John Van Nostrand officiating. Family will receive friends 9:30 AM-10:30 AM prior to the Service. Interment will be at Moon Cemetery, Macksburg, IA after a luncheon being served at the Funeral Home following the Service. Memorial contributions may be directed to Support Services of South Central Iowa Activity Fund c/o Pearson Family Funeral Service. Condolences may be shared online at pearsonfuneralhomes.com.

William (Bill) Robert Graham was born on January 1, 1952, on the way to the hospital on a cold winter’s night in Greenfield, IA. He was not only a New Year’s baby but a special birthday present for his father, Wyman Graham, who was also born on January 1. Bill’s mother, Shirley (Hayman) Graham blamed the delay getting to the hospital on a football game.

Bill was the second of three children born to Shirley and Wyman. He grew up in a small farmhouse about one mile outside Orient and attended Orient-Macksburg schools. He excelled in music as all the children of Shirley Graham, the local music teacher, were expected to do. Bill sang in group ensembles, chorus, musicals, and sang numerous solos under his mother’s tutelage. He enjoyed playing the trumpet in marching and concert band. Highlights included singing in numerous Bill Riley Talent Shows, being selected for the All-State Chorus and joining a choir from Grinnell College on an unforgettable trip to Europe.

Growing up on a farm, Bill naturally had an interest in agriculture. He participated in 4-H and raised hogs to take to the Adair County and Iowa State fairs during the summer. He was active in FFA activities during high school. Upon graduation, Bill attended SWCC to get his Associate of Arts degree then transferred to Iowa State to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture and Education.

After graduation, Bill worked at an agricultural firm then became an ag teacher at Orient-Macksburg High School. Unfortunately, some health issues and disability cut his career short in the 1980s. Eventually, he met the love of his life, Alma Leighton, at a Toastmasters meeting in Creston. They were married on December 22, 1991. They loved doing things together and enjoyed traveling. Alma grew up in Maine so they would visit Bill’s younger sister, Mary, and her family in Boston and then head up to her family’s house in beautiful Winter Harbor, Maine by Acadia National Park. They looked forward to their travels to many different states on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Unfortunately, Bill’s health deteriorated, and it was difficult to maintain the marriage, so they divorced in 2015 after Bill moved to Greenfield Manor Assisted Living. Alma passed away shortly after that while living and working in Creston.

Bill was transferred to Southern Hills Specialty Care in Osceola for rehabilitation after surgery several years ago. That is where he decided that he preferred to be called “Bert”. Most recently, he was moved to Parkridge Specialty Care where they only knew him as “Bert”, so our family was forced to adapt to his new identity.

After his health continued to deteriorate with several stints in the hospital in recent months, Bill (a.k.a., Bert) entered eternal rest on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at the Parkridge Specialty Care, Pleasant Hill, Iowa, at the age of 71 years, 8 months, and 22 days.

Bill is survived by his sister, Mary (Rob) Weinstein of Hopkinton, MA and their daughter, Ali of Studio City, CA; sister-in-law, Rosalie Freeman Graham of Lenox, IA, and her son David, currently in NY, Lori (Chris) Comstock, Lenox, IA and their children and grandchildren, and Jennifer Moore, Perry, KS and her children and grandchild.

Preceding his death were his former wife, older brother, Ken, and parents, Wyman and Shirley.


Madison Obituaries maintained by Linda Griffith Smith.
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