Elizabeth Ellen McGraw
May 27, 1928 — December 30, 2017
Elizabeth “Betty” Ellen McGraw was born in Albany, NY, on May 27, 1928 to Edward and Marie (Pappalau) Braman. She passed away after a brief illness on Saturday, December 30, 2017. She had many loves in her life, most importantly, her husband of 64 years, John (“Jack”), who she met in first grade and married on September 20, 1952. They had 6 children together and had many adventures, living in Akron, OH, West Chester, PA, Wilmington, DE, Portage, MI, Sierra Madre, CA, and finally back home to Portage. She most enjoyed spending time with her large, rowdy family and her many, many friends from around the country. She and John travelled with the Portage Senior Center, went on cruises, and frequently visited her extended family in Albany, NY. They helped to create several Rose Parade floats, hosted Japanese foreign exchange students, and explored the west coast during the six years they lived in California. While living in Kalamazoo, she volunteered for many years at the Ladies’ Library Association, the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, and Kalamazoo Right to Life. Betty loved spending time with her friends, particularly her P.O.E.T.’s Club, the Red Hatter’s group, and many of the parishioners at St. Catherine of Siena in Portage and St. Rita's in Sierra Madre, CA. She was very skilled at arts and crafts, including sewing, knitting, crocheting, and quilting and was a wicked Skip-bo, Rummikub, and Jumbles player. Betty is survived by her loving brother, Jack (Marlene) Braman; special cousin, Shirley McCartan; children, Susan McGraw, Bob (Betsy) McGraw, Kathy (John) Watson, Joe (Pam) McGraw, Trish Gelbaugh; grandchildren, Jeremy (Megan) Watson, Sara (Pete) Julius, Kevin McGraw, AnneMarie McGraw, Ian McGraw, Connor McGraw, Jori Gelbaugh, Matthew Gelbaugh, Drew Gelbaugh; great-grandchildren, Layla Watson, Cooper Julius, Addison Julius. She is preceded in death by her husband, John McGraw; son, Bill McGraw; parents, Edward and Marie Braman; and siblings, Jimmy Braman, Bill (Annette) Braman, Marie (Pete) Mead. A mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Catherine of Siena, 1150 W. Centre St., Portage, MI on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 11 am; visitation with family and friends at 10 am; luncheon to follow at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, Kalamazoo Right to Life, or the Kalamazoo Ladies’ Library Association.