John W. Graham, 70, Watertown

WATERTOWN, NY — John W. Graham, 70, of Watertown, died Monday, May 28, 2018, at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown.

He was born March 6, 1948, in Utica, NY, the son of John H. and Eleanor J. (Humphreys) Graham.

He married Mary Louise Pugh July 27, 1974, in Utica, NY. Mary Lou died Dec. 17, 1981 in Wappingers Falls, NY.

John’s legal practice was in Watertown.

At the time of his marriage to Mary Lou, he worked for the Social Security Administration in Queens, NY City. Prior to that he was a house parent at George Junior Republic, a school for emotionally disturbed children in Freeville, NY. He also worked briefly as a bartender for his aunt and uncle, Sarah and Augie Scholl at Scholl’s Hotel, Yorkville, NY. This was during the Viet Nam War, so jobs were difficult to find for young men eligible for the draft. He became a member of the NY State National Guard; attended basic training at Fort Polk, LA and then received training as a Medic at Fort Sam Houston, TX. After leaving SSA, John worked for the NY State Dept. of Corrections, initially as a Budget Analyst. His last position with that department was as Deputy Superintendent at Otisville State Prison. He was employed by law firms in Oswego and Watertown before becoming self-employed as an Attorney, specializing in family law.

John graduated from Whitesboro Central High School in 1966, the University of Rochester with a B.S. in Political Science in 1970, and Cum Laude on May 18, 1985 from Syracuse University College of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review. After receiving his JD law degree, he initially went to work in Oswego, NY in the Shanley firm, then went to the firm of Giles, Marsh, Goodwin and Stone, P.C. in Watertown, NY, where he also worked as assistant corporation counsel for the City of Watertown on enforcement of building, fire and zoning codes, condemnations and assessment challenges. After Giles, Marsh et al sold their firm, John opened his own practice, first in his previous home in Chaumont and later on Public Square in Watertown. He later took a position with the St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services, continuing his private practice in a limited capacity. He then returned to private practice full-time.

He is survived by his sister, Jane E. Graham of Fayetteville, his paternal aunt, Mary Murnane of Haverstraw, NY and several cousins, as well as his stepsons, Matthew (Susan) and Michael (Dana) Hedrick and his special pal, his kitty Riddley.

Per his wishes, there will be no services. Burial will be in Carr Cemetery, Marcy, NY. Contributions in his name may be made to Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum (CLCBM), 717 Lakeport Rd., Chittenango, NY 13037 or Wanderers’ Rest Humane Association, PO Box 535, Canastota, NY 13032. Arrangements are with D.L. Calarco Funeral Home, Inc.

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