John P. Graham, a trustee at St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Montauk, died on Tuesday at Southampton Hospital after a short illness. He was 86.
“Described as having a Hibernian zest for life, Jack was known for his great sense of humor and unending wit,” his family wrote. “A great soul, a great man.”
Mr. Graham was born to John William Graham and the former Helen Gunnoy in Rosedale, N.Y., where he was also raised. He graduated from Chaminade High School, where he played basketball, earning a scholarship to Georgetown University, from which he also graduated.
Passionate about everything he did, Mr. Graham loved his career with Banfi Vintners, which lasted 38 years, following short stints in the textile industry and running a liquor store. He retired from the wine import company as the metro area sales manager, though he worked well into his 80s as a consultant. In fact, Mr. Graham was given two retirement parties in his honor over the years.
Mr. Graham raised a family in Wantagh, where he was involved with his community and was a grand knight in the Wantagh Knights of Columbus. He and his wife Margaret (Peg) would have been married 60 years in April.
After many years vacationing in Hither Hills and Ditch Plain, he and his wife decided to build their retirement home in Montauk in 1982. It was a family project with everyone lending a hand, his daughter Patricia Graham said. Mr. and Mrs. Graham moved to the house fulltime in 1992.
His family said he immediately immersed himself in the community, becoming a dedicated member of many organizations and running successful fund-raisers for the Montauk Village Association and the Republican club, but none were more important to him than his involvement in St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church, his family said. He served as a trustee and a weekly lector, and was instrumental in the rebuilding of the church, which earned him the title of Gurney’s Inn Man of the Year, an honor he cherished, his family said.
Mr. Graham is survived by his wife and his children, John Graham of Massapequa, Margaret Gould of South Amityville, Patricia Graham of Bayonne, N.J, Brian Graham of North Valley Stream, and Kevin Graham of Wantagh. A son, Gerard Graham, died before him, as did a brother, Daniel Graham.
Eight grandchildren survive him. Mr. Graham’s first great-grandchild, a boy who will be named Konnor John, is on the way. A sister, Helen Carley, of Los Alamitos, Calif., also survives.
The family will receive visitors at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton today and tomorrow from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A Mass will be said at St. Therese in Montauk on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., followed by burial at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
Donations have been suggested to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 26 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York 10004.