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Gale Graham

June 29, 1924 - December 2, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI

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Visitations


Thursday, December 8, 2016
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions

Thursday, December 8, 2016
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions

Friday, December 9, 2016
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST
Faith United Methodist Church
2600 Seventh Avenue
Grand Rpaids, MI 49504
(616) 453-0693
Map

Services


Friday, December 9, 2016
11:00 AM EST
Faith United Methodist Church
2600 Seventh Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-0693
Web Site

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Faith United Methodist Church
2600 Seventh Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-0693
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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Described as a genuinely good man who was close with his family and kind beyond measure, Gale Graham will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A hard worker his entire life and a decorated war hero of WWII, there was nothing he wouldn’t do for his close friends and family. Gale lived his life fully by serving others and giving of his time and resources over the years. Knowing a person like Gale meant that you had shared a meaningful relationship with a very special person. He leaves behind wonderful memories for everyone who knew and loved him.

The Roaring Twenties was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. Jazz music was booming, as well as the automotive industry, and the nation was seeing large scale industrial growth which brought about significant changes during this era. With the media focused on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie figures Ernest “Red” and Emma (Spedowski) Graham welcomed home their own star, a newborn son, Gale born on June 29, 1924 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Gale was born between his two older brothers, Gerald and Eldon and his two younger brothers, Bev and Dick. When Gale was nearly seventeen, his family took in their niece, Nancy adopting her and giving him and his brothers their only sister.

At a young age, Gale held a routine Saturday paper route in addition to working on farms and orchards seasonally when he wasn’t pitching in and helping out with his father’s decorating business. He and his brothers all shared a common sense of hard work and physical labor. Over the years, the five closely knit brothers had plenty of stories to share about their horse-drawn sleigh rides to visit relatives and their antics on their journeys to and from school. As a teen, Gale built up his confidence defending himself from the average school bullies and thieves of those days. He was athletic as well, playing sports in high school along with ice skating, fishing and hunting. All five of the Graham boys helped their father build a home on Jefferson Avenue, a memory they frequently shared. During his senior year, while listening to a speech by President Roosevelt about the attack on Pearl Harbor, he felt moved to enlist hoping that he and his brother, Eldon who was drafted, would remain together. Both of them ended up in the Army Air Corps as flight operators serving in China, Burma, and India from January of 1943 thru October of 1945 and were miraculously together throughout most of their wartime.

With the encouragement of Gale’s aunt, a young lady, Marty Fish began writing to Gale while he was in the service. During his first furlough visit back home, the two of them would finally set eyes on one another and it was most definitely love at first sight. For the next six months, every weekend he managed time back home to spend with her until they were joined in marriage on August 18, 1945. In their early years together, the happy couple shared military housing until he was discharged. Remarkably sharing just twelve days shy of seventy years together, he and Marty raised four wonderful children over the years; Michael, Susan, Patti and Sally Jo. As a young family, they spent many summer afternoons as well as each Christmas and traditional holiday at Marty’s parents home on Big Pine Island Lake. Later, they moved into their family home generously built by Gale, his dad, and his four brothers. Gale never had trouble supporting his family over the years as he worked very hard as a builder and a contractor eventually owning his own contracting business

He had many special interests over the years from singing, bowling and traveling. He spent more than twenty years entertaining with the Great Lakes Barbershop Chorus and bowled on numerous leagues with his wife, Marty. The two of them equally loved to travel and vacationed to the beautiful state of Alaska, as well as took in some trips to Las Vegas, Maryland, Colorado, Tennessee, and Florida as well as plenty of casino and gambling trips. More recently, Gale took interest in attending Faith United Methodist Church where he felt the loving embrace of encouragement and support from his church family when he and Marty were facing difficult and trying times. There simply was no one that was more sincere, caring, and kind than Gale. He modeled a lifetime of integrity and unconditional love for his family. Sadly, he passed away and his warm personality will remain on the hearts of his close friends and family to cherish for years to come.

Gale E. Graham of Grand Rapids, Michigan age 92, passed away on December 2, 2016 with his loving family by his side. He was preceded in death by his wife, Martha in August of 2015, as well as his great-grandson Jonathan Rimgale. He will be greatly missed by his children, Michael (Kristi) Graham of Ravenna, Susan Cuson of Coopersville, Pat Graham of Knoxville, TN, and Sal (Scott) Ambutavicz of Allendale; grandchildren, Sarah LaForte, Jesse Graham, Erin Bonnington, Janet Jaglowski, and Heidi Rimgale; and ten great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his brothers, Gerald (Mary) Graham of Grand Rapids and Richard Graham of Bear Lake; his sister, Nancy (Michael) Eilers of Grand Rapids; and many nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held on Friday, December 9th at 11 AM at Faith United Methodist Church, 2600 Seventh Avenue. Friends may visit with his family on Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW and from 10-11 AM Friday at the church. Interment will be in Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to Faith United Methodist Church. Please visit Gale's personal web page to leave a memory or condolence at www.lifestorynet.com.

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