Peacefully on Monday, August 26, 2019, George “Rodney” Graham passed away at the Assiniboine Centre in Brandon, Manitoba, surrounded by his family. Rodney was born on June 25, 1923 in Foxwarren Manitoba, the youngest son of George and Margaret (Leckie) Graham. He attended school in Foxwarren and the University of Manitoba where he received his Diploma in Agriculture. In 1943 he began farming with his father, doing the work he cherished for the rest of his life. He married Edith Simms on July 8th, 1953 and they celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary this year. Edith and agriculture were the loves of his life, and they farmed together on the Graham farm until 2003. Rod was a member of the Canadian Seed Growers Association for 65 years, receiving the Robertson Associate Award in 1966, and serving on both the Provincial and National Boards. Dad received a Certificate of Commendation from the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Manitoba for his work in the agricultural industry.
Rod and Edith had five children, Roberta (Greg Malazdrewicz), Heather (Kevin) Davidson, George (Paddy Beswatherick), Trudy (Willie) Leiding and Ruth (Lester) Deane, 12 grandchildren, Graham (Andrea), Nicholas (Kerri), Leah, Carli, Caleb (Sharon), Cassandra, Shelby, Blaine, Kevin (Melissa), Christopher, Scott and Heather; and eight great grandchildren. Being the father of four girls didn’t phase Dad. In fact, Dad was a “closet” feminist, believing that girls were just as capable as boys and that education was the means to independence. Each of his four daughters received degrees or diplomas, with Dad providing the financial support. As a father of girls in the 1970’s, Dad also believed in short hair and long skirts! George inherited his father’s passion for farming, attending the University of Manitoba, obtaining his Agricultural Diploma. The farm was Dad’s life and he was so proud to have his son, George, join him in creating REG Farms partnership in 1981.
Dad and Mom spent many winters in Texas and later in Osoyoos, B.C., where they made many treasured friends. They moved off the farm to Brandon in 2003, leaving the piece of land Dad lived on for over 75 years. Dad loved to travel, as long as he was driving! He loved to debate politics, play cards, golf and spend time with good friends. He was a beloved Grandpa and Papa to his grandchildren and great grandchildren, known to have ridden tricycles, podded peas, and even watched tornadoes touch down a mile away, all with a sense of humor and calm. Dad was a dedicated member of the Masonic Lodge and the Order of the Eastern Star. He also served on the Boards of the local United Grain Growers and United Church.
Nothing was closer to Dad’s heart than his land. His last wish was to ride the combine one more time, a wish that was fulfilled the week before he passed away. Supper was served in the field with lots of family, stories and laughter. Rest easy Dad, we love you forever.
Dad is predeceased by his parents, George and Margaret Graham, his brother, Harry Graham, his father and mother-in-law, Arthur and Edna Simms and brothers-in-law Ray and Clarence Simms. A celebration of his life will be held at the Foxwarren Community Church, Saturday, August 31 at 2:00pm. Urn bearer will be his grandson, Graham Malazdrewicz. Pallbearers will be his grandchildren.
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