Jim and Lydia Graham

pg 470 More Big Hill Country 2009

Jim, Lydia, and their children Russell and Beth moved back west to Cochrane in 1975 after 9 years of working and studying in Eastern Canada. Jim joined the Faculty of Management at the University of Calgary and Lydia became involved in Cochrane community activities. Cochrane was a small town in 1975. On one of his first trips downtown, Jim was accosted by a senior citizen who asked who he was and where he came from. She was concerned that, with all the new people in town, there were a lot of people she didn’t know. After a series of questions, she was pleased to learn that Jim was one of the Grahams who came from a farm north and west of Vulcan. However, she was not familiar with Lydia’s family, the Properzis who had homesteaded in the Barrhead region in the early 1920s. 

Jim and Lydia have been very involved in their community. Lydia’s first community efforts were the forming of a preschool and presuming the option for a French immersion program in Cochrane Schools. She ran for council in 1986 and served as councilor for 6 and mayor for 9 years. During that time Cochrane grew from 2500 to over 10,000 and the council was faced with a complicated series of problems concerning recreation, infrastructure, land use and other growth issues. Lydia provided direction and leadership to the council. One of the highlights of her time was the negotiation of an agreement for a sewer line to Calgary which was paid for by the province and the City of Calgary. Since her retirement from public office, Lydia sits on the Board of CHAPS, FCSS, and is involved with the All Saints Anglican Church. 

Jim helped coach ringette and served on the vestry of All Saints. In addition to teaching and researching, Jim served as Assistant Dean of both the Undergraduate and Graduate Programs. He and several colleagues developed the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Jim led the development of The Enterprise MBA Program which was selected as the best Entrepreneurship Program in North American Business Schools. Jim served as Chairman of the Board of Calgary Vocational Services (now called Prospects), and served on the Board of a number of Public and Private Corporations. Jim’s consulting company J. B. Graham & Associates Ltd. has served large and small, public and private clients over the last 30 years providing market research, business strategy, and employee training. Since Jim retired from the University of Calgary in 1996 he and Russell have worked to develop new technologies for mineral processing, oil sands cleaning, and effective coal combustion. 

Russell Graham completed is Bachelor of Arts in Economics at the University of Calgary where he played football for the Dinos. He married Maureen Beveridge, a dental hygienist, in 2001 and has a son Tanner. Russell is the operations manager for Aerosion Ltd. and is active in the Calgary business community. Beth Graham earned both a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from the University of Alberta and is a professional actress and writer in Edmonton. She’s won numerous awards for her acting and plays. Beth married Patrick Frazer, the stage manager at the Winspear Centre in Edmonton, in 2008. 

Both Lydia and Jim remain active in the Cochrane community.

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