Margery Graff LaChapelle
Margery Graff LaChapelle
June 16, 1937-November 27, 2018
Margery Graff LaChapelle, 81, of Beverly, MA, died peacefully in her sleep on November 27, 2018. She was born in Jamaica, NY on June 16, 1937 to Sophia and Charles Graff, on a day when the catalpa trees were blossoming–they would continue to do so each year on her birthday. She spent her magical childhood in Catskill, NY playing make-believe games outdoors with older sister Anne, drawing, and cultivating a love of literature and writing. She attended a little red schoolhouse for primary school (walking to and fro with her sister each day) and Catskill High School for secondary, graduating as valedictorian of her class. Her keen intellectual curiosity then took her to William Smith College in Geneva, NY. There she was active on the literary magazine and graduated again at the top of her class: Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude. She continued her education at the State University of New York at Albany, where she received her Master’s degree in English Education. Her first teaching job was in the East Irondequoit, NY schools as a 7th- and 8th-grade English teacher (she would go on to teach English for decades in the Coxsackie-Athens, NY junior-senior high schools, and to become a teacher beloved and long remembered by her students). While living in the East Irondequoit-Rochester area, she met her first husband, J.R. Brady (deceased), with whom she had her two daughters, Anne and Meg Brady. When Marge and Rich were divorced, as Marge began to experience her chronic health problems more consistently, she and her girls moved back to her childhood home in Catskill to live with her mother, sister, and her sister’s two children, Tom and Sylvia (then Margy Grace). Marge’s health problems resulted in two kidney transplants at ages 47 and 63: the loss of the first transplanted kidney proved nearly fatal, but Marge fought valiantly and received peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis to regain her strength and receive a second transplant. Her sense of gratitude for having been given a second chance at life through dialysis led her to volunteer at a hemodialysis center after retirement. Despite her poor health, Marge and her family had a lovely life in Catskill filled with flower and vegetable gardening, singing at the piano, bird watching at the kitchen window (“Come see! A cardinal!”), taking in summer-repertory plays, cross-country skiing, dancing at polka fests in the Catskill Mountains, and engaging in animated dinner conversations with a merry crew at the table. Marge also loved music and played tenor guitar, singing folk songs with her family: “Down in the Valley”, “The Streets of Loredo”…. She even took a stab at writing and illustrating children’s books. Indeed, Marge chose to enjoy and champion life in all its displays, grand and small, and she loved the simple pleasures. When her children were teenagers, Marge met her second husband, Fred LaChapelle. She moved closer to her children and grandchildren in 2014 after a five-month hospital stay in NY, and her enthusiasm for life continued as she pursued friendships at Colonial Gardens retirement complex in Beverly, MA. There, among good friends, she participated in poetry groups, book club, trivia competitions, and strategy games such as Scrabble (she rarely lost!). While in Beverly, Marge was able to enjoy her four grandchildren, laughing at their dinner-table jokes and revelling in all their activities and achievements while also providing them with a constant source of love and understanding. She was fiercely loyal to and supportive of those she loved and unfailingly appreciative of those who bestowed even the smallest favor or good, and she was polite no matter the circumstance–a true “lady,” as her own mother had been: in Marge’s final days she continued to share her beautiful smile and introduce family members to nursing staff, whom she quietly thanked for any and all tasks they performed as they tried to help her. Even as her physical struggles overtook her she would say, “Cogito; ergo, sum: I think; therefore, I am. “ Her mind was ever agile and her spirit indomitable. We will think of her and love her always, sustaining her beautiful spirit. Indeed, she is.
Marge is survived by her adoring sister Anne Riley (84) and brother-in-law Jim Riley (75) of Catskill, NY; her devoted daughters Anne Brady (53) and Meg Brady( 50); grandchildren Owen (15) and Innes Boesch (12), and N’Deye (14) and Yayanta Brady-Diouck (8), all of Hamilton, MA; and husband, Fred LaChapelle (89) of Selkirk, NY, as well as a large extended family. In lieu of sending flowers, donations can be made in Marge’s honor to the National Kidney Foundation. A memorial service will be held to celebrate Marge’s life in the Spring of 2019.
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