Fern Josephine (Strickland) Graham

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Fern Josephine (Strickland) Graham, 99, died peacefully March 27th, 2021 in her home at Bruneau, Idaho with family by her side. She died 16 days short of her 100th birthday.

Fern was born April 12, 1921, in a farmhouse at Hot Springs, Idaho the third daughter to William and Lena Strickland. She attended grade school in a one room schoolhouse at Hot Springs and graduated from Bruneau High School in 1938, in a class of three.

She married Earl Lee Graham in 1938 and they were married 47 years until his death in 1985. During the early years of their marriage, she worked along her husband on the Strickland ranch, as a Bruneau Grade School lunch cook and at the Officer’s Club at Mountain Home Air Force Base. Fern and Earl then followed multiple construction projects throughout the Western US. While working in California, Fern received her education as a dental assistant and then worked several years for Dr. Reed Cutler DDS in Mountain Home until she started a long career with the US Postal Service. She became the Postmaster in Bruneau and enjoyed that position for 17 years until retirement. She was married to Charles “Bud” Rutherford of Mountain City, NV from 1990 until his death in 1997.

Fern had three children. Ramona Lee Hall Church born in 1939, Roger Pern Graham born in 1941 and Leon Dewitt Graham born in 1947. She loved raising her family and they were the joy of her life. Earl and Fern bought their first and only home 16 years after their marriage and she remained there for most of her life. She thoroughly enjoyed living in Bruneau and never wanted to live anywhere else.

Her home was a showcase of flowers and gardening was her passion. She took pride in taking care of Bruneau by doing community service, cleaning vacant property, and trying to beautify the town. She loved Bruneau dances, dressing up for any occasion, making monkey dolls, watercolor and acrylic painting and wearing an Easter Bunny costume every year to the excitement of the Bruneau children. She was known for her many wedding cakes, baking pies, canning all kinds of preserves, and making popcorn balls for the community during Halloween. Everyone called her the Energizer Bunny.

Fern had a zest for life and lived it to the fullest. She loved family gatherings and people visiting her. No one was ever a stranger in her home, and she loved to tell stories about growing up in the Bruneau Valley and enjoyed talking about the latest gossip around town.

She is survived by her son, Leon Graham of Bruneau. Grandchildren Susan (Duffy) Davis, Wray (Debbie) Graham, Marjorie Hall, F. Gregory Hall, Carmen Graham, Heidi Graham, and Vanessa (Vasily) Belozeroff. Thirteen great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by Bill and Lena Strickland, brother Grant Strickland and sisters Mabel DeForest, Marjorie Vitale, and Leona Albert. Also, her children Roger Graham and Ramona Hall Church, a great grandson, Kevin Davis and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Fern’s life will be held on May 29th at 11:00 AM at the Bruneau Community Park. Lunch to be served after the service. Main course, drinks, table service will be provided. Please feel free to bring to a side dish, salad, or dessert. Lawn chairs are appreciated. All are welcome.

Memorials can be made to the Bruneau Booster Club (Shelter Fund) P.O. Box 648, Bruneau, Idaho 83604.