Denise Graham, 1955-2020

Sturgeon Point, and the Union Church, has lost a dear member of its community. Our sincere sympathies to Denise’s family and friends.

Denise Lynn Graham
June 27, 1955 – July 9, 2020
Denise Graham passed away on July 9 after a short battle with cancer. She is survived by Allan Hux, her loving husband of 36.5 years, son Ryan Hux, brother Tom Graham, sister Kimberly Fanning (Richard), niece Ashley McGowan (Mark Stafford) , and many Graham and Craig cousins. Denise is the eldest child of the late Ross Graham and Barb Graham (nee Craig) and will be deeply missed by her loving siblings, Kim and Tom.
Denise was born in 1955 in Toronto and grew up in Don Mills where she attended Broadlands P.S., Milneford Jr. High, and Victoria Park S.S. She was raised in Donminster United Church where she actively participated in Sunday School and youth programs. The girls on Muircrest Dr., Kim, Lesley, Debbie, Sandy, Vicki, Susan and Kimberly, played together and became life-long friends.
Denise entered the very first year of the Applied Geography program at Ryerson University in 1974 and graduated in 1978. She landed summer jobs with the City of Toronto Planning Department in 1977 and 1978 and was hired as a City Planner in 1978. She had a wonderful career in the Planning Department starting in the Zoning and Official Plan section and then transferring to the Community Planning section. She loved her years in the site offices in the Beaches, Swansea, the Junction, Bloor West, Riverdale, and North Toronto. She enjoyed working with residents’ associations, business improvement associations, and city councillors like Derwyn Shea, Anne Johnston, Kay Gardner, Jack Layton and Paula Fletcher. Denise appeared as a city witness at some Ontario Municipal Board Hearings such as the one on the Riverdale Hospital which were high points in her career. After retiring in December 2011, she was selected to sit on the Committee of Adjustment for North York from 2015 – 2019 and was re-appointed for a second term in the fall of 2019. Denise enjoyed doing site visits to check the applicants’ plans against the four tests for “minor variances.”
Denise and Allan were married in 1983 and lived in Leaside. When she was expecting their son, Ryan, they moved to the Yonge-Lawrence neighbourhood. They joined Fairlawn Avenue United Church where Denise was active in the Toddler Room and the Children’s Education Committee. After she retired from the city, she co-coordinated the Tuesday Lunch Crowd, served on the board of the Fairlawn Neighbourhood Centre, and organized art classes in the spring and fall with the artist, Ruth Hayes. She also took up yoga with Randy Basian. She met many wonderful people through these activities.
Denise’s other major passion was the family cottage on Graham Lane in Sturgeon Point. Her grandfather, Tom Graham, and father, Ross Graham built the cottage in the early 1960s and she spent her summers there. She learned to swim and water ski on Sturgeon Lake and play with her cousins, Mary-Rose, Heather, Bob and Bill Graham. Frequently, her Craig cousins, Darryl, Wayne and David, also came to the cottage. When she was sixteen she got a summer job at Brandon Hardware in Fenelon Falls and during the first two years of university, she started earlier and stayed with her Grandpa Graham on Oak Street in front of the Fenelon Falls locks on the Trent-Severn water system. She was deeply disappointed not to be going to the cottage this summer which she shares with her sister, Kimberly.
A celebration of Denise Graham’s life will be held at Fairlawn Avenue United Church after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Denise’s name to Fairlawn Avenue United Church, 28 Fairlawn Avenue, Toronto, M5M 1S7, or through their website at www.fairlawnchurch.ca.

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