November 8, 1929 – November 15, 2021
Elizabeth “Libby” Graham died suddenly on November 15, 2021 in Columbia, MD. She had just celebrated her 92nd birthday the week before her passing at Brighton Gardens assisted living facility, where she had been a resident since January 2020.
Libby will be remembered for her deep appreciation of literature, poetry and art; for her lively wit and sense of humor; for her commitment to equality, justice and the public good and above all, for her love of her family.
Mary Elizabeth Akers was born November 8, 1929 at the National Homeopathic Hospital in Washington DC . She grew up in Garrett Park, MD, a place she remembered fondly as a small, friendly semi-rural community. Later, her parents, Sheldon and Ina Akers, moved to Bethesda, MD where Libby and her older brother Sheldon Jr. attended Bethsda-Chevy Chase High School.
At B-CC she first displayed her signature wit, writing for the school newspaper in a regular column titled Ad Lib. Libby enjoyed her high school years, making many life-long friends. She graduated in 1947 and went on to attend Duke University in Durham, NC where she majored in English Literature.
In 1950 she married Thomas Graham and settled in Prince Georges County, MD where she raised three children. She took an active role in St. Bernard's parish in Riverdale, MD where she volunteered many hours and helped organize a Junior Great Books club for seventh and eighth graders.
In 1964, she went back to school at the University of Maryland and obtained a degree in Library Science allowing her to work as a school librarian. She enjoyed her first assignment at Suitland High School, but found that working with elementary school students to be most rewarding. During her career she served as librarian at Wildercroft, Beacon Heights and Happy Acres Elementary Schools.
In retirement Libby found time to pursue many interests. She traveled extensively within the U.S. and to other counties, often visiting friends, sometimes travelling with them. She especially enjoyed her trips with her sister-in-law Jean through Elder Hostel.
Amidst the culural changes of the seventies Libby began attending services at the Paint Branch Unitarian Church with some old friends. There she found like-minded people and she became an active member of both the Paint Branch church and then the Leisure World Unitarian group.
She briefly lived in Santa Cruz, CA where she did volunteer work for the Red Cross and American Cancer Society. Libby admitted that she enjoyed the scenic beauty and relaxed lifestyle of coastal California, though she frequently lamented missing the change of seasons in her beloved state of Maryland, where she returned to in 1990.
Libby spent nearly thirty years in the Leisure World community in Montgomery County, MD. She made many friends there, and enjoyed doing volunteer work.
She found satisfaction in what she called “simple pleasures”among them enjoying her morning coffee (always black) while thoroughly reviewing the Washington Post, reading and poems and novels, including revisiting favorites such as Pride and Prejudice, visiting her children and delighting her grandchildren with stories, games and her legendary pies and cookies and listening to WAMU when her eyes began to fail her.
Libby prized her independence, fighting, and triumphing over injuries, ailments and aging while living life on her own terms. She found it difficult to live in an assisted living facility during the final months of her life. Even in that setting, however, “Miss Libby” was known for her tenacious spirit and kindness to the staff.
Libby Graham is survived by her children, Mark and his wife Mary of Hyattsville, MD; Carol,of Columbia, MD; and Paul and his wife Judy of Perry Hall, MD; her grandchildren Lewis and wife Kaitlin, Kerry and Connor, all live in Baltimore and great-granddaughter Josephine. Her grandson Tyler of Baltimore died in August 2021 and is dearly missed.
Libby, though not an outgoing person, made a lasting and positive impression on all who met her. Those who knew her well loved her spirit of adventure, her wit and passion for language and her generosity and kindness.
Services will be announced later.
In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to the Equal Justice Initiative Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.witzkefuneralhomes.com for the Graham family.