Rotterdam – Douglas William Graham, 71, passed away suddenly on Thursday July 1st 2021 with his wife by his side.
Doug was born in Niskayuna and was the son of the late William and Ada Graham. Doug is the beloved husband of 46 years to Dawn Hotaling Graham. He is the devoted father of Nicole Graham (Todd) Ritchie. Doug is the cherished Papa to Stephen, Rachel, and Alex, whom his world revolved around. He is the brother and best friend of John (Billee), Graham, Linda (Bob) Prusko, Patricia, Paul, Robert, Ronald, Anna, Alice, Terry and the late Bonnie Graham. He is the son in law to Marion Hotaling. He is the brother-in-law of Denise Livingston, Marlene Brennan, Sharon, Frank and David Hotaling, Terry and Keith O’Brien and Lance Lamora. Doug is the dear friend of David DiCarlo and special uncle to Dana Livingston and Emma Pooler. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins, loyal friends, and family pets.
He graduated from Mont Pleasant High School in 1968. He served in the US Navy from 1969 to 1973. He began his service with basic training in Great Lake IL and served on the USS Ranger with ports of call in Hong Kong, Philippines, and Singapore. He also served in Cuba where he adopted his Basette Hound “Blue”. He was such a proud Veteran and always encouraged to buy American. He was a well-known plumber and steamfitter with the Local 128 at the General Electric Company in Schenectady for 38 years. He was known as “The Legend” when he retired in 2005. He also operated his own plumbing business, “Royal Flush Plumbing”, where his work became more of an opportunity to help others in any capacity. He always worked two jobs with an amazing work ethic and never stopped working until the day he passed on. He was the most hard-working man and treated everyone like family. Everyone that crossed paths with Doug was impacted in a positive way, whether it be from his contagious smile, his generosity, or his ability to go above and beyond helping in so many ways. He sacrificed so much for his family and never wanted anything in return. He was a jack of all trades and was full of such knowledge that he taught without realizing it and inspired others to want to learn. Doug was the most genuine, patient, intelligent, compassionate, generous, loving, giving, respected, selfless and supportive man we will ever know. He looked forward to all family outings such as the local fairs, eating good food and all family gatherings. He looked forward to Friday nights at Broadway Lunch and recently said he felt like “Norm from Cheers” because everyone seemed to know his name. He enjoyed walks to the “Coffee Store”. He enjoyed reading a good book while the hummingbirds visited him on the front porch. He enjoyed relaxing in his man-cave and watching his shows while snacking on some peanuts or milk and cookies. Doug was full of adventure with a love for the outdoors. He had no fear and enjoyed every aspect of life to the fullest. He enjoyed hikes, walks, sitting outside, and listening to the sound of the birds. The local turkeys visited his backyard on a regular basis. He took pride in his home, his yard and was so meticulous with everything. He loved piddling around his garage and made such beautiful things for his family. He loved working with his hands, creating and remodeling. If something was broke, Doug could fix it.
He was the most devoted and loyal husband in this universe. He loved when his wife called him Douglie every day and when she asked to see his amazing smile. Dawn loved to blow kisses to Doug and watching him tuck them into his pocket. They were each other’s true love and took care of each other no matter what. They ventured out everywhere together and were soulmates.
He was the most incredible father to his daughter Nicole, who adored him like no other. He was her guiding light and her superhero. He could absolutely do no wrong in her eyes, and Nicole will always be her Daddy’s Little Girl. His strong, big hands always made her feel safe and secure. He taught her how to love unconditionally and to find the good in everyone. He taught her to give with no expectation of anything in return.
His son in law Todd is so grateful for all he learned from Doug. He looked at him as the best man he ever had met and feels lucky for having been able to work with him remodeling their home. The lessons he learned from Doug are timeless.
His 3 amazing grandchildren were his world. Stephen, his first-born grandson had such a huge bond with his Papa. His first bike ride was sitting in the bike carrier attached to Papa’s bike and he loved every minute of it. Parasailing with him was an unforgettable moment. He enjoyed watching Pirates of the Caribbean on VHS in his man cave and eating whole tomatoes like apples from his garden. Rachel was Papa’s baby girl who loved Papa’s whisker kisses. He always made her feel safe especially when the fireworks scared her. She gave him a special rock and he never left the house without it. He had the patience of a saint and taught her to drive, shoot a pellet gun and kayak. Alex was Papa’s sidekick, his buddy. He absorbed so many lessons from him like hitting his first nail to fixing a broken toilet and tying some complicated boy scout knots. They loved taking hikes together, kayaking, working on plumbing jobs and taking rides in Papa’s truck. Alex could not give his Papa enough kisses.
John loved working with his brother. He taught him a lot over the years. He saw how Doug had so much respect for the elderly and would do anything he could to help them but never expected to be paid. He just wanted to take care of them. John always looked forward to their morning walks, stopping for a coffee and just sitting outside watching the birds and chatting. They had great times hiking and kayaking and teaching their grandchildren how to have outdoor fun. They always had each other’s back and nothing will ever be the same without his old pal Doug.
He loved his grand furballs Bailey, Charlie, Gonzo and Delilah who flocked to him every time he visited.
His loss is immeasurable which reflects his love and care for so many dear family members and friends. Our lives will never be the same without him.
Doug was the true backbone to his entire family. He was our rock, our Superman – Man of Steel. He will always be our hero. He is truly one in a million and irreplaceable. He has and always will be our protector. The most incredible husband, father, papa, son, brother, uncle, cousin, nephew and friend. We love you. This isn’t goodbye…it’s see you later.
The family would also like to thank the first responders, and all of the amazing professionals at Albany Medical Center for their support during this difficult time. The family would also like to extend their gratitude to their friends and family for their support during this trying time.
Visitation will be Monday from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at St. Luke’s Church, 1235 State Street, Schenectady. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday at 11:00 am at St. Luke’s Church. Interment will follow at Gerald B.H. Solomon VA National Cemetery, Schuylerville.
Please omit flowers. The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the World Wildlife Fund or to Wounded Warriors in Doug’s name.