A community pillar. A friend. A gentle man. A happy soul. A blessing.
Just some of the praise for a local icon, now gone.
Last Friday, Sept. 20, John Graham passed away suddenly at age 74, leaving an entire community in mourning.
John’s “family” was comprised of his coworkers and customers at Valleyview Co-op Food Store in Virden where he worked for 37 years, right until the end.
John was predeceased by his parents, brother and sister. So his friends became his family. And with his sunny, outgoing personality, he made friends as easily as he smiled, which was often.
The tributes here were chosen from among many that poured in for John:
I met John when I got hired at Kelchris as the Director… I have a real soft spot for him. He was a man who knew all and lived life and loved life. I’m very proud of John, he truly was a pillar to all of us. John filled the room. And filled our hearts. Rest easy John, you truly conquered life, we love you. - Barbara Finley
He was such a kind soul, my kids used to love when he teased them. I coached him in baseball and curling, I also worked for ACL and we used to do coffee dates. Once you know John you will always be friends. -Patti Stevenson
John has touched a lot of hearts. His mother (Marg) worried about instilling John with the many values of living alone which he did for a long time after she was gone. John, you inspired me that challenges in life can be conquered. You were a blessing to this town! -Diane Gabrielle
He used to come in early and tell all us cashiers we were BAD. If he said you were bad, it meant he liked you. -Leslie Mead
I worked with John at the Co-op for a lot of years. When my Mom died in Nfld he got Gaylene to take him to Home Hardware and bought me a butterfly that lit up at night so I could remember her. I loved him dearly. -Dot MacDonald
One of the first guys we met in Virden after arriving from the UK. Always happy, always smiling, always helpful. John will be sadly missed but fondly remembered! -Mark Humphries
John was such a special person. He enjoyed life and so loved his job at the Coop. We will remember him always. Donna and Lynne Park
John was my forever special friend. We worked together at the Co-op always with a smile on his face. John always kept me up to date on his activities especially bowling and fishing. I'll always remember you John, rest easy my friend. -Pat Jourdin
I also worked with John. I was there when he first started. He always came to work with such enthusiasm, and loved to stop and talk with his customers. He will be missed dearly, but remembered always. -Holly Draper
Johnny Graham was such an inspiration to so many of us in the Town of Virden. I have many happy memories of Johnny from my Special Olympics coaching days when he was in our Virden Club and in those 10 years he worked really hard to accomplish some of the events we took part in such as track and field, bowling, Monday night gym classes and he was on the curling team along with skip Chris Leach, Garry Remple and John Scott when we hosted the Provincial Winter Games in Virden and their team won the Provincial title. He was very proud of his job at the Virden Co-op and we always had a good visit when I was shopping. He was a very loving son to his mum Marg, and she was so proud of how he was able to work and live independently. He never wanted to call me Carol Anne and so I accepted that my name to him was Lynn. I’ll miss hearing - “Hi Lynn Trowell - what’s up today” Rest In Peace Johnny. –Carol Anne Trowell
John always had a smile on his face and a spring in his step. I remember him best for his teasing and kind spirit and you could be having the worst day ever and he would always make you smile. John you were one of a kind and you will be truely missed. We love you John! - The Goulds
John was a kind, gentle soul who loved to tease. Every time he saw me he would say, “Here comes trouble.” I loved it when he helped with my groceries. He would share one of his stories as I loaded my own groceries. I would tease that I was doing his work and he would quip back, “You know, I am smarter than some people think.” I haven’t lived in Virden for seven years and I still miss his good cheer. –Bruce Macdonald
I’ve known John for over 38 years. He started in the delivery van at the Coop and moved on from there. Over the years he has always taken the time to ask how my family and I have been doing. He has become an icon around the Coop and will be missed by all. –Judy Russell
John was a special soul! He always had a smile and was ready to visit. I will miss him greatly! John, the two Dons are waiting to take you to that special fishing place. Mom and Marg will welcome you with big hugs! See ya! - Love Kathy Angell Reid