Graham Joseph Thibodeau
Graham Joseph “Graham” Thibodeau died suddenly Saturday, May 2, 2020, at the home of his daughter, Katie, in Richmond.
The fifth child of Myrtie Belle Lanigan Thibodeau and Edmond S. Thibodeau (“Pete”) was born March 19, 1932, in Keene. Their first child, Gerald, died at three months. Patricia (Patty), Edmond (Sonny), Sally Anne and “Graham” all attended local St. Joseph’s School and graduated Keene High School.
Family and friends called him Graham and also Joe. Graduating Keene High School, he joined the U.S. Army, serving in the Korean conflict for three years.
His first marriage was to Shirley Lancey Patria. They raised five children and divorced in 1969.
After Army service, Joe attended Keene State College, receiving his bachelor’s (1957) and his master’s (1960) degrees.
His teaching years began in the Monadnock Regional School District at its inception in 1962, teaching in Troy, Fitzwilliam, Monadnock High School and Keene High School, totaling 35 years in education. His passion for inspiring a love of learning in children guided his life. He always believed in the rich and abiding worth and potential of every child.
In 1972, Joe and Norma Grasing Brunk married in Troy in a civil ceremony, and moved to Richmond with daughters Katie and Wendie. A son, Robert James, was welcomed in 1973 to complete this family.
Retiring from teaching in 1989, Joe then worked for Emil Legere Management Company for several years, to retire again to enjoy studying his roots, genealogy, history and diaspora of the Thibodeau family back to the 1600s. Enjoyment was ever present in reading, learning and collecting information into 16 volumes of data.
Walking, chopping wood, gardening and fishing were favorite forms of exercise.
He loved listening to the radio, and being greeted by many former students with “Hi, Mr. Thibodeau.” They would remember together his influence in their lives.
Joe was involved in many civic organizations, including: State Forest Fire Warden for Richmond; volunteer fire department; Public Library Trustee; Historical Society volunteer for both Richmond and Cheshire County.
Survivors include his wife, Norma C. Thibodeau; his children: Calvin L. Patria, Kenneth W. Patria, Kathleen J. Turgeon (Andrew); Wendie M. Thibodeau (Gregory Collins); Anna “Katie” Brunk; and Robert J. Thibodeau; his grandchildren: Tracy Jenkins (Harry IV); Lindsey Dukes (William); Andrew Turgeon (Jacquline); Joshua W. Brunk; Robert A. Brunk; Latoshia S. Brunk; and Daniel T. Brunk; and his great-grandchildren: Nathan, Nicholas, Harry V, Oliver and Cecelia. He was predeceased by a son, Michael E Patria.
In lieu of flowers, donations in the name of Joseph Graham Thibodeau may be made to either of the following organizations if you wish to: St. Joseph’s Indian School, 1301 North Main St., Chamberlain SD 57325 (800-341-2235); or to WAMC Northeast Public Radio, 318 Central Ave., Albany NY 12206.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a private graveside service was held in the family lot on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at Earl Howard Cemetery in Richmond. All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Home and Crematories, 46 South Winchester St., Swanzey NH 03446.