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Sylvia Rose Graham

November 25th, 1917 - June 10th, 2017

Sylvia Rose Hudson Graham passed away peacefully on June 10, 2017, at the home of her daughter Lorna Freeze (West Linn, OR). She is survived by her daughter, grandchildren Brent Freeze (Tamara) of Irvine, CA; Darla Freeze (Scott Cierski) of Seattle, WA; and Perry Freeze of Sherman Oaks, CA; two great-grandchildren Sofia and Kayron; nieces and nephews including Dennis Steckel (Mary) of Coos Bay, OR, and Dianne Graham Mergler (Jerry) of Ocean Shores, WA. Married for 61 years, she was preceded in death by her husband Lyster E. Graham (North Bend, OR); sons Larry and Lonny; eight siblings including her identical twin sister Goldie Steckel (Ben) (Coos Bay, OR); and son-in-law Carl Freeze (West Linn, OR). Sylvia and her twin sister Goldie were born in Post Falls, Idaho, on November 25, 1917. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Marshfield, Oregon (now known as Coos Bay). At age 18 she received her beauty school license and opened her own successful hairdresser shop in Empire, OR. In 1940 she married Lyster (Les) Graham. Daughter Lorna was born in 1944, sons Larry in 1952 and Lonny in 1954. In 1952 they moved to Glasgow (North Bend) into a custom-built home, designed by Sylvia and drawn up by her for the blueprints. Its large picture windows gave them a breathtaking view of the entire bay, McCullough Bridge, the shimmering lights of Coos Bay and North Bend, and all the ships and tugs that came in and out of the busy port. Sylvia was a member of the Eastern Star during the ‘40s, rising to the office of Worthy Matron at a very young age. She gave it up in 1952 to be a full-time mom. In the late 1960’s she became active outside the home again, along with her sister Goldie, as a member of the College Park Church of God. Together they helped organize many church events and wedding receptions. Tragedy struck her life in 1971 when their son Larry was killed at age 18 when a car crossed into his lane on the icy McCullough Bridge. In 1992 they lost their other son Lonny after a long illness at age 37. Sylvia had much joy in her life, too. She was an avid flower gardener and almost single-handedly landscaped their yard in Glasgow. Every year her magnificent hanging begonias and fuchsia baskets graced the branches of a huge myrtle tree in their front yard, which brought oohs–and-ahhs from everyone. She planted dahlias in the front yard, and created a large English-style circular flower garden with central fountain in the back. Although she never took music lessons, her immense love of music was apparent. She passed down that appreciation by playing classical music to her children while in the womb, and afterwards always had records and tapes around, instruments and an upright grand piano. In her retirement years she loved playing her electric organ. When Les retired around 1980, they bought a pop-top van and took camping trips around the state and to Portland to see their children and grandchildren. Her family brought her great joy. Even though they all moved away, they always kept in close touch. Every summer her grandchildren came to stay with them for a few weeks, and she always had plenty of activities planned: creating and writing personal journals with Polaroid pictures, camping at Powers in their pop-top van, playing at the sand dunes at nearby Horsfall Beach, fishing in their 12-foot outboard boat, and exploring along the bay shore in Glasgow. In her nineties, she finally became a great-grandmother with the birth of Sofia and Kayron in California. She was so proud of her family, especially her grandchildren, and often commented that there is nothing more gratifying than seeing them be happy, successful, and loving what they do. Over a 13-month period in 2002, Sylvia lost her husband, her twin sister, and her twin’s husband. She sold her home and moved to Summerfield Retirement Estates in Tigard, Oregon. She lived at Summerfield from 2004 to 2016, where she had several large garden spots, enjoyed going on field trips, participated in many activities, and made many new friends. The years at Summerfield were some of the happiest of her life. In 2016 she moved to her daughter’s home in West Linn. She loved having her own room with a view of the sunrise, firs and maple trees, and the three busy birdfeeders outside her window. At 99, Sylvia was still bright and sharp and filled with wisdom and wit. Near the end of her life, as she lay in bed looking out the window at the trees swaying in the wind, she turned to her daughter and hospice caregiver, and much to their surprise, began reciting her favorite poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer: I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree. Sylvia often expressed how lucky she was to have the wonderful care of the Legacy Hospice nurses and staff. Their empathy and devotion to her comfort and wishes touched her deeply. Several times she stayed for a short time at Hopewell House in Portland, and enjoyed her time in their beautiful surroundings and excellent care there very much. At Sylvia’s request, no services are planned. She will be laid to rest with her husband and son Larry at Sunset Memorial Park in Coos Bay. The family wishes to extend their deep gratitude to Legacy Hospice and to Hopewell House for their wonderful, loving care.

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Staff at Autumn Funerals, Cremation & Burial

Our sincere condolences.

Published January 4th, 2024
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Dennis and Mary Steckel

Until we see you again, we miss and love you greatly. God Bless

Published January 4th, 2024
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