Worked At Smalley’s, Newberry’s, More
MILFORD — Josephine A. Graham, 88, of Division Street, Milford, who worked at Smalley’s Theatre, the original Newberry’s and other Cooperstown retail landmarks, passed away on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, at Bassett Hospital.
Born on Sept. 30, 1931, in Cooperstown, she was the daughter of Robert J. and Claudine (Smith) Wilber.
She attended the one-room schoolhouse in Bowerstown. After sixth grade she “graduated” to Cooperstown Central School.
On April 30, 1950, she married Alexander E. Graham, the “most handsome man” she ever met, at the Baptist Church in Cooperstown. They shared 47 wonderful years together until his death on Dec. 9, 1997.
For Josephine, her family always came first. She worked hard to ensure that her family’s needs were met.
From an early age, she worked at some of Cooperstown’s iconic businesses, selling tickets at Smalley’s Theatre, selling candy, etc. at the “old” Newberry’s (the storefront last occupied by CVS), at Fynmere, the home for retired Presbyterian ministers on Estli Avenue, and at Gadzooks! Antiques.
As a lover of old movies she could identify every actor of her era, often just by hearing their voice. She was an avid reader and it’s believed she read every book authored by Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts.
She was a great cook. Her Spanish rice was famous among her family and friends and her blackberry dumplings were so good they were requested by her “favorite granddaughter,” Janeve, in place of her birthday cake every year!
She was funny and fun loving. Her laugh was infectious. She was a friend to everyone and would go far out of her way to help others. She was a great secret keeper and wonderful storyteller.
She was called “mom” by many of her children’s friends and “grandma” by many of her granddaughter, Janeve’s friends. She had a genuine interest in them and always wanted to know how each of them were doing. She was full of protective motherly advice, i.e. “Don’t walk home in the dark and if you do call me as soon as you get in.”
She virtually never missed an opportunity to call and never failed to tell her family members that she loved them. Indeed, “I love you” were her final words to them.
Josephine is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Diana Graham of South Main Street, Milford; daughter, Brenda Graham of Division Street, Milford; and granddaughter, Janeve, now of Georgia. She will be missed by her beloved dog, Bentley and by Pepper, her cat, as well as by countless friends.
Visiting hours will be 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at Tillapaugh Funeral Home, 28 Pioneer St., Cooperstown.
A memorial service officiated by the Rev. Sylvia Barrett, pastor of the Milford United Methodist Church, will follow the visitation at 4 p.m.
For those who so desire, the family suggests that donations in Josephine’s memory be made to Milford Emergency Squad Co.#2, P.O. Box 531, Milford, NY 13807, in recognition of her gratitude to its members for their caring and always prompt attention to her medical needs.