Barbara Clara Graham Howe, 86, of Easton, passed away on August 7, 2022, at the Kittitas Valley Community Hospital with her family by her side.
Barbara was born on February 20, 1936, in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, the oldest of two children born to Alois and Evelyn (Casey) Thielen. The family moved to Washington in 1942, and Barbara attended school in Easton before transferring to St Joseph’s Academy in Yakima where she graduated in 1954. When she was 16, Barbara began working at the cafe in Easton, and it was there that she met a young soldier named Glenn “Bud” Graham. The two were quick to fall in love and married in Cle Elum on June 17, 1955. Barbara would have followed Bud anywhere, but they chose to settle in Easton and raise their five children. She would wake before dawn to prepare Bud breakfast and lunch and get the kids off to school. As their children grew more independent, Barbara worked as a postal clerk at almost all of the upper county post offices and continued managing family business ventures after Bud’s death in 1987.
Family was of primary importance to Barbara and Bud, and they took the kids on many camping adventures. When their kids were playing school sports, she and Bud would travel to every game to cheer them on, no matter how far away they were. Later in life they purchased a cabin on Lake Kachess, where family and friends joined to create many happy memories. Barbara never learned to swim, but thoroughly enjoyed boating and watching Bud and her kids water ski.
Barbara enjoyed ceramics, sewing, crafting, gardening and tending to her yard and flower beds. She appreciated the beauty of the upper county, mushroom and berry picking, long scenic drives and family celebrations. Her family will fondly remember her fried chicken, potato salad, decadent strawberry cake, and delicious pies, cobblers and crisps. Barbara would never turn down a game of pinochle and enjoyed challenging her mind with scrabble or suduko puzzles. During her later years, she spent many hours researching the history and genealogy of both the Thielen and Graham families and recently became involved with the Easton Historical Society.
Barbara is survived by her daughters Cherie Graham of Easton and Amy (Mark) Mills of Ellensburg; sons Stephen “Casey” (Marie) Graham and Nathan (Nancy) Graham, all of Ellensburg; as well as 11 grandchildren, many, many great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and dear friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Bud, in 1987; her son, Scott, in 2003; her second husband Lee Howe in 2019; and her brother Reeves “Butch” Thielen in 2020.
Memorial contributions in Barbara’s honor are suggested to Easton Fire Department .
Viewing for family and friends will be from Noon – 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 19, 2022 at Johnston & Williams Funeral Home in Cle Elum, followed by a Vigil and Rosary starting at 7:00 p.m. that evening at St. John the Baptist Church in Cle Elum. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the church at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 20, 2022, with burial to follow at Laurel Hill Memorial Park in Cle Elum. After the interment, family and friends are invited to an informal reception at the Graham family home at 190 Pelton Avenue in Easton at 1:00 pm.
Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Cle Elum has been entrusted with caring for Mrs. Graham and her family.