G.W. “Wilf” Graham was born in Greenwood, B.C. in 1907 and moved with his family to Chilliwack in 1909. He went to Chilliwack High School, then a four room school house, and graduated at age 16. Following his graduation he attended the Provincial Normal School. It took him another eleven years of summer school and winter study to get his teaching degree from the University of British Columbia.
His first teaching post was at Atchelitz School in 1925. He then taught at Robertson School briefly before going to Sardis Elementary School for ten years, after which he went to Chilliwack High School as vice-principal and then principal, as well as teaching subjects such as physical education and mathematics. In 1950 he became a provincial school inspector for what was then the Department of Education, with a territory from Prince Rupert to Namu and beyond. He later retired to Chilliwack. In 1977 he became temporary superintendent of schools for Chilliwack. So he started his career in Chilliwack and ended it in Chilliwack some 50 years later.
Outside of school, Graham was an avid basketball player and held fond memories of the rivalry among many Fraser Valley communities. This actually presented a bit of a dilemma for him when both Chilliwack and Sardis had teams; he worked in the latter community but played for the former.
Graham also shared his passion for education with his family. His two children: Verna and Gordon, had two and three children respectively. Verna and two of Gordon’s children are involved in the education system. Gordon, in fact, is a retired architect who specialized in the creation of education facilities. Education has permeated the Graham Family for three generations.
In March 2005, the new middle-secondary school in Chilliwack named the “G.W. Graham Middle-Secondary School” officially opened; a fitting tribute for an obviously community-minded man. In fact, Graham was so well respected amongst his community that UFV conferred a honourary doctorate upon him on June 13th, 2008 in tribute of his pioneering educational leadership.
On May 27th, Wilf passed away peacefully in his sleep, after having suffered a stroke earlier that week. In recognition of Wilf’s many contributions, we hope to grow his endowment fund which was established by a number of his former students a few years ago.
Currently the G.W. Graham Endowment Scholarship has received $29,697. The goal for this endowment is to reach $50,000 in order to provide an award of $2,000 in perpetuity. Please note that all donations to UFV receive a tax receipt for the full amount of the gift. We ask that you consider making a gift to the G. W. Graham Memorial Endowment Scholarship. You can make a donation on-line through the link below.