Cover photo for John  L. Graham Jr.'s Obituary
John  L. Graham Jr. Profile Photo
1938 John 2013

John L. Graham Jr.

February 2, 1938 — January 12, 2013

RURAL BLACK EARTH - Jack crested the summit Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, after climbing the steepest grade of his life following a diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer. He died at home, surrounded by the love of family and dear friends who held him close during these last months.

Jack was born in Milwaukee on Feb. 2, 1938, to John L. Graham Sr., and Grace Loomis Graham of Wauwatosa. He graduated from Marquette High and attended Marquette University, graduating from St. Norbert College in De Pere. In 1961 he married Nancy Coombs, with whom he had five children. Jack worked at the Wisconsin Department of Revenue following graduation and soon went on to serve for 37 years as Director of Grants Administration in the Dean's office of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, until his retirement in 2001.

Jack is survived by his wife of nine years, Johanna "Jo" Solms; the mother of his children, Nancy Graham; siblings, Grace Graham of Mukwonago, Richard Graham (Laurie) of Dangeul, France, and Kathy Weigel (Leonard) of Chicago, Ill.; children, Anne Graham (Gillian) of Seattle, Sue Graham of Madison, Jenny Graham (Ken) of Hartford, Jim Graham (Michelle) of Fountain Hills, Ariz., and Tom Graham (Heidi) of Delafield; stepchildren, Sheila Corwin of McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and David Anderson (Melissa) of Minneapolis, Minn.; grandchildren, Brion, Krista, Sara, Patrik, Amelia, Mattie, Jake, Claire, Kloe, Cora, and Fern; and great-grandson, Bryson. Jack's parents, John and Grace Graham, predeceased him.

Jack was, above all, a devoted father to his children and an important father figure to other young people. He instilled an abiding love of the Wisconsin outdoors and the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest--along with bicycling, hiking, camping, canoeing, cross-country skiing and running--in all of them.

Bicycling was Jack's passion. As a young man, in 1973, he did a month-long solo self-supported tour from Luxembourg to Italy to visit his brother Richard. Along with countless rides in beautiful western Dane County and beyond, over the years, he toured often with Cycle America. He rode Ride the Rockies and Pedal the Peaks in Colorado nine times with his friends Joe and Pat, Dan and Bonnie, and Evan and Wendy and their sons David and Adam. After retirement he continued to map and lead group rides for Bombay Bicycle Club and rode and provided support for the Wright Stuff Century, Quadrupedal, Dairyland Dare, and Horribly Hilly Hundreds. He rode Tour BC twice and was especially proud of a weeklong "credit card tour" in Colorado with Jo, Anne and Tom in 2003. He regularly visited his dear friends Kim and Bo of Billings, Mont., to share wonderful outdoor vacations.

Jack loved a series of dogs in his life, particularly his "Chessies," Chester, Stoker, Kosh and Tekla, but also little Anony, who wandered into his heart and became his only lap dog ever. He cherished the home he built as a young man in the Town of Vermont and continued to improve the buildings and property for 42 years. He was quite fond of his cars and his tools, doing lots of building and inventing. He truly appreciated fine beer and great coffee and enjoyed jazz, bluegrass and Celtic music. Following Wisconsin and national politics was one of Jack's abiding interests.

A celebration of Jack's life will take place in late spring, once the weather is perfect for bicycling.

Memorials may be made in Jack's name to the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin or the Iowa County Humane Society.

The family thanks Dr. Anne Traynor and Dr. Kevin Kozak and the staff of the Paul Carbone Cancer Center for their unstinting efforts to give Jack more time with us, and Agrace HospiceCare for helping us care for Jack in the home he so loved.

"If people would just meet each other more than halfway."

"The Endless Ride" - The farm dog runs beside me as I pedal on my way, Redwings chirp above my head, I guess to what they say, Three thousand mile a summer, I'm riding all I can, The sun shines down upon me, it has made my body tan, If I can just keep riding, thru wind and rain and sun, I might return to that special place, where I think that I begun. - Harley Kilby
To order memorial trees in memory of John L. Graham Jr., please visit our tree store.


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