Janet Graham

Date of Birth

August 6, 1935

Date of Death

September 17, 2018

Janet Graham passed away on September 17 from complications due to Alzheimer’s. She is survived by her three sons, Bill and Ted Urschel, and Zack T. Wilde, her four beloved grandchildren, Augie, Rory, Meredith, and Henry Urschel, and her twin Jeffrey Gorman.

Janet and Jeff were born in China in 1935.

They attended the Shanghai American School until the communists came, then were sent to a boarding school in Baguio, Philippines. Later, the twins were brought to Massachusetts, where the family has many relatives and deep roots.

Janet attended Wellesley College, and met her first husband, Bill Urschel, a Princeton University student, and father of her three sons. Janet completed her Bachelor’s Degree in English at Salve Regina College, was an excellent Den Mother for the Cub and Boy Scouts, raised and showed an award winning poodle, and learned to oil paint beautifully. She enjoyed camping, gardening, road trips, and sailing with the family.

In 1970, Janet and her family moved to Santa Barbara where she became involved with the Junior League of Santa Barbara, became an excellent competitive tennis player, and obtained her Master’s Degree in English from UCSB. She and her husband Bill divorced in 1976.

Janet soon met her second husband, Dr. Hugh Graham, an historian at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and moved back East in 1978 with Hugh, son Ted, and step-son Holter. She was Language Coordinator at UMBC, earned her Ph.D. in English Education, was President of the Board of Baltimore Teachers of English as a Second Language, and later Director of the English for Internationals program at Vanderbilt University. She overcame breast cancer in 1988.

Janet and Hugh relocated back to Santa Barbara in 2000. The pair enjoyed their four young grandchildren. Although Hugh passed away in 2002, Janet remained in their lovely home in the Upper East Side. Janet was Secretary of the League of Women Voters, a docent at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and continued to be a crack tennis player. Janet was frequently seen around the neighborhood walking her beloved poodle mix companion, Polly.

In late 2014, Alzheimer’s symptoms appeared. Her son Zack moved down from San Francisco to live, cook and care for her and Polly, and Ted, already in Santa Barbara, took on the financial, health care and legal duties.

She will be remembered for her beauty, intelligence, independence and fortitude.


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