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Originally published: 2014-02-06 15:46:05
Last modified: 2014-02-07 15:56:48

Jewel Graham Church

Jewel Graham Church, 91, of Hickory, passed away peacefully at her home, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014.

Jewel was born May 14, 1922, in Todd, to the late D.W. Graham and Ethel Stanberry Graham. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Isaac Franklin Church; one sister, Violet Graham Sams; and two brothers, L.D. Graham and John W. Graham.

She grew up in Todd, and was a graduate of Appalachian State Teachers College. Jewel taught Home Economics for 30 years in Old Fort and Hickory High School, where she also served as head of the Home Economics Department during her tenure there.

She was an active member of First United Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday School and was involved in Circle #5 for many years. After her retirement, she worked part-time for Caldwell Community College serving the elderly in their nutritional needs through area churches. She greatly enjoyed serving others and demonstrated extreme generosity. Her gentle loving spirit shone throughout her life. Her hobbies were her flowers, her yard, cooking, and enjoying extensive traveling. Her passion was her family and she was the matriarch of the Graham family for many years.

She will be greatly missed by her loving survivors including her son, Rick G. Church and wife, Robin, of Hickory; daughters, Mary Beth Bowman and husband, Mike, of Hickory, Judy C. Abee and husband, John, of Portage, Mich.; brother, Dr. James B. Graham Sr. of Boone; sister, Ila Graham Stallings of Granite Falls; granddaughters, Kilby P. Church and Emily Ann McGuire, both of Hickory; grandson, Graham G. Church of Charlotte; two stepgranddaughters, Claire Abee and Elaine Abee of Portage; and a previous son-in-law, Johnny R. McGuire of Hickory.

A celebration of life service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in the chapel at First United Methodist Church, Hickory, with the Rev. Bob Roach officiating. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 3 to 4 p.m. in the parlor at the church. A funeral service will also be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Todd at Blackburn Chapel UMC with the Rev. Lindsay Long and the Rev. Jeff McLain officiating. The church is located on the Todd Railroad Grade Rd. Inurnment will follow in the Graham family cemetery.

In keeping with Jewel's hospitality, all those attending services in Todd are invited to join the family for lunch at the church from 1 to 2 p.m. prior to the service.

Memorials may be made to the Graham Cemetery Fund, PO Box 1561, West Jefferson, NC 28694.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

Bass-Smith Funeral Home in Hickory is serving the family of Jewel Graham Church.