Cover photo for Ramona Graham's Obituary
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Ramona Graham

June 7, 1931 — August 17, 2022

Ramona June Graham age 91, of Kalispell passed away on August 7 2022, at Logan Health Medical Center.

On a summer day in 1931 Rose and Bob Saurey became parents to an apple-cheeked baby girl and named her Ramona June. She grew up on the family farm with her elder siblings Gordon and Rosemary and her baby brother Russell Maynard with cousins and aunts and uncles on nearby farms West of Columbia Falls.  The school bus she rode to elementary school was a Model T truck, whose floorboards grew thick with ice in the wintertime.  She taught herself to play the piano and collected sheet music from movies and Broadway shows.  Later in life, she regularly attended musicals at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse.

She met Jim Graham at a dance and for their first date went to a basketball game.  After her high school graduation in May of 1949, she and Jim married and together made their home on LaSalle Road for the next 66 years, raising four children.

Ramona was a home room mother for many Evergreen School classrooms and volunteered for both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.  The U.S. and Montana flags for the Girl Scouts were kept at the Graham’s during those years for the color guard at ceremonies and events.  The values of these organizations - to be honest and fair, courageous and strong, respectful of authority, to use resources wisely and to make the world a better place, reflected Ramona’s own values.

Outside of her children’s activities, for decades, Ramona was a member of one of several Home Demonstration Clubs in the valley organized by the USDA Cooperative Extension Service to offer education in economics, food safety, and family wellness to rural women.  Even more, the club provided an opportunity for community involvement and many lasting friendships.

Ramona attended and hosted a Pinochle Club with a group of women and her sisters-in-law, filling the houses with laughter and perfume.  When the Graham brothers and wives gathered for a Christmas or Thanksgiving game, Ramona said she felt guilty because she thought maybe she and Jim telepathically knew what suits were in each other’s hands.  She enjoyed board games and cribbage and watching videos with her grandchildren from the large VHS video library she kept for them, never tiring of seeing Disney’s the Fox and the Hound.

She made decorations for all seasons and holidays and was a charter member of her Hobby Club.  She baked and decorated tiered cakes for numerous weddings and anniversaries.  She sewed costumes for school Christmas plays and Halloween and clothing for herself and her family.  She knitted hats and sweaters that will be long-cherished.  A favorite gift Ramona made for new babies was a flannel blanket with satin binding.

Ramona affiliated with the Democratic party, serving at different times as Central Committee Precinct Chair, Treasurer, and Manager of the Democratic Election Headquarters in Kalispell.  For many years, she was the Chief Election Judge of the Evergreen Precinct and along with her fellow election judges from both political parties, administered voting and ballot counting.  She was passionate about women’s rights, the struggle of the poor, and the condition of the planet until her last day on it.

A technical revolution from electric cook stoves to the internet spanned Ramona’s lifetime.     Getting a crash course on the day the nursing home closed in March of 2020 for Covid-19, she learned how to use a tablet and figured out the difference between “e” and “g” mail and to choose the right video chat platform, depending on who she was calling, to stay connected to her family through the pandemic.

Ramona resided for two and a half years at the Immanuel Lutheran Home where she made friends with staff – even with nurses to whom she refused to concede about being watched to take her medications.  From her window she watched songbirds and squirrels at the feeders, scolded the ravens for stealing peanuts, and received an occasional visit from a horse named Diamond Gemini.  She loved playing bingo and even better, winning bingo.

She was allergic to dogs and cats and horses. She preferred Montana-made Cream of the West cereal, loved peonies, begonias, geraniums, and petunias and the colors blue and pink.  When she found something quite amusing, her whole body shook with mirth.  She was famous for her canned pickles, potato salad, and turkey gravy and once earned $700 at auction for her huckleberry cobbler.

She wanted to live for the birth of another great grandchild and her grandson’s wedding in May and so she did with grace until passing.  Ramona is survived by her “chickens” – kids Glenn, Cathleen, Colleen, and Mary Beth; grandkids Scott, Claire, Jamie, Greg, Kayla and, Eric; her great grandkids Marlie, Ashlyn, Taytum; her kids and grandkids’ spouses and partners Shelley, Clay, Shelby, Meg, Lindsay, and Luke; brother Maynard and family; and nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, neighbors, and caregivers.

A celebration of Ramona’s life will be held on Sunday, August 21, at 1:30 p.m. at the Hampton Inn in Kalispell, Montana. Friends are encouraged to visit our website at www.buffalohillfh.com to leave notes of condolences for the family. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory caring for the family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ramona Graham, please visit our flower store.

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Celebration of Life

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Starts at 1:30 pm (Mountain time)

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