It is with great sadness that the family of Laura Jean Graham announces her passing on July 26th, 2022 in Kamloops, BC at the age of 67. Laura was born in Vancouver on November 3rd, 1954.
She is survived by her son Graham Hendry of Vancouver; her siblings Mike (Sharon) Graham of Coquitlam and Nancy (Michael) Sharkey of Gibsons; her nephews Russell and Rhys Sharkey; stepchildren Paul (Lisa) Rodd [their daughter, Olivia], Courtney (Benjamin) Rodd, and Ben Rodd; and countless family friends, ladies’ golf partners, and PEO sisters. Laura was predeceased by her parents Shirley (2012) and Gordon Graham (2015), and her second husband Gordon Rodd (2021).
Laura was a strong-willed, passionate, and creative soul. At a young age, she spent countless hours at the rink honing her figure skating skills. Early mornings, with a chocolate bar in hand, this is where Laura practiced and started to perfect her work ethic, her driven nature, and her determined attitude.
Spending most of her formative years growing up in Vancouver, Edmonton and Chilliwack, Laura set out for the University of Victoria, after a trip to the States helped her choose between pursuing a career in fashion or education. Once earning her undergraduate degree in Honours English, she spent the next 6 months backpacking in Europe with some friends. Upon returning home, Laura taught a few years in Hope, B.C. before moving to Kamloops where she met her first husband, Wayne Hendry, and she spent the remainder of her career, teaching anything from Textiles, Physical Education to English Literature- her passion. Upon entry into administration, Laura could not leave the classroom behind and taught small classes of English Literature at NorKam (as a vice principal) and Valleyview (as principal) so the programs could get up off the ground; never skipping an opportunity to dress up as Queen Elizabeth, she would encourage the students to don traditional garments and have an Elizabethan feast. Whether it was the countless hours she spent sewing costumes for school productions, helping sponsor school sports teams, or coaching and encouraging her son’s various sporting endeavours, Laura was always keen to lend a helping hand. She was also extremely proud of coming from a family of educators and cherished that her son followed in the family footsteps.
The family cabin at Loon Lake- built by Laura’s grandparents- offered up a great place for respite between each school year. It was a place that family and friends cherish many memories of Laura: during the day sun tanning and fishing on the pontoon boat, in the evenings around the campfire, and at any point around the table playing a rousing game of cards. Laura’s determined nature prompted the rebuild efforts after the original cabin was lost to the wildfires in 2017.
Retirement brought on several new opportunities for Laura. She found love again with her second husband, Gord- whom she married in the summer of 2011- and created a new home in Sun Rivers in 2015. Laura continued to give back in terms of her involvement in the local PEO chapter, as well as helped organize Ladies’ golf nights at Big Horn Golf & Country Club. Retirement also offered up the opportunity to travel more, whether it be to Hawaii, Mexico, or Largo, Florida to escape the Thompson Okanagan winters. She was able to devote more time to family, support her aging parents and cheer on the younger generation- earning her nickname “Auntie Camera” – as an enthusiastic photographer of events, gatherings and family milestones.
‘…People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ – Maya Angelou
There will be a Celebration of Life held in the Summer of 2023. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to an educational charity of your choice or to the G.W. Graham Endowment Entrance Scholarship (established by Laura’s grandfather) at the University of the Fraser Valley here https://connect.ufv.ca/give-to-ufv. If you have inquiries on your gift in honor of Laura, please call Anita Nielsen at 604-851-6300.
Condolences may be sent to the family from