Anne Russell Graham, our beloved, high-spirited mom and grandmother, has died at the age of nearly 90. Smart and gorgeous, Anne was an accomplished businesswoman long before most women worked outside their homes.
She was devoted to her family and her husband of nearly 70 years, Col. Henry Robert Graham, who died just six months ago on July 9. Their union was a true partnership as they raised their family, built a successful business, embraced a huge circle of friends, and traveled the globe. “Anne and Hank,” as everyone knew them, were destined to always be together.
They owned the successful Small Fry children’s clothing store in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood for 48 years. Though Lincolnwood was their home, they were world travelers – visiting nearly every continent – and spent part of each year in sunny Longboat Key, Florida.
Born Anne Elizabeth Russell on Feb. 6, 1930 in Painesville, Ohio, she was a straight-A student, an avid reader and a lifelong learner. She chose Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, because of its progressive views on learning and life, and then continued her studies at Northwestern University.
She worked for a summer as a social worker at Chicago’s Hull House, and then moved to NBC as a receptionist. That’s where she met Henry, a World War II hero, who applied to work there in 1949. When Henry saw Anne, it was love at first sight. He told her he would buy her a sandwich and piece of pie if he got the job – which he did. They married in June 1950, launching their loving, lifelong partnership.
Together, they opened Small Fry, which featured clothes imported from Europe. At times when Henry was away with the U.S. Army, Anne juggled her young family, the business, and trips to New York City to buy the store’s merchandise. She always made it all look easy.
Anne was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lincolnwood. She loved books, the theatre, and touring museums and gardens near and far. Most of all, she loved and was proud of her family, especially doting on her seven grandchildren. Several of them were named “Anne” in her honor.
Anne will be greatly missed. Her survivors are sons Timothy John Graham and James Andrew Graham; daughter Linda Graham Caleca; grandchildren James and Anne Elizabeth Caleca; Nicole and Christian Graham, and Zachary, Claire Anne and Paul Graham. She also is survived by daughters-in-law Suzanne and Nancy Graham, son-in-law Vic Caleca, and Nicole Graham’s fiancé, Ross Ragsdale. Survivors also include nephews John and Jeff Russell, niece Julie Hale, a cousin, Robert Graham, and their families. John Russell’s daughter, Anne Elizabeth Russell, also was named for her beloved great-aunt. Anne’s two brothers, John and Phillip Russell, and sister-in-law Rita, preceded her in death.
Services will be private. To honor Anne’s memory, please consider giving to your favorite charity.