Melissa A. Graham

Dec 05, 2017
Melissa Graham

Lincolnville Beach — Melissa Ann Petersen Graham passed away Dec. 1, 2017, at Sussman House in Rockport, surrounded by her family. She was born May 14, 1939, in Aurora, Ill., to the Hon. John S. Petersen and Helen (Loomis) Petersen.

Melissa grew up in Aurora, graduating from West Aurora Senior High School in 1957. She went from there to the University of Miami and then on to San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, in 1960 to take advantage of the thriving international artists’ community there. After her time in Mexico, she settled in San Francisco, where she met and became engaged to Michael Graham.

Melissa and Michael were married Aug. 19, 1964, on her family’s farm back in Aurora. She and Michael spent a year together in Italy before returning to the States and settling in Brooklyn, N.Y.. They had two children together, Erinn Graham (b. 1968) and Ivan Graham (b. 1972); they later divorced.

From New York, Melissa moved to Jamaica Plain, Mass., where she taught at a Montessori school and studied nursing at Boston University. In 1982, she moved to Lincolnville Beach with her two children. Melissa was perhaps best known in the Midcoast for her time spent at the ABCD Bookstore on Bayview Street in Camden. She worked there from 1984 until the much-loved shop closed its doors in 2009. Specializing in antique books, Melissa was a true bibliophile and happily shared her knowledge and enthusiasm for the printed word from her post at ABCD Books. Melissa was also known for her beautiful gardens and love of animals, music and the arts.

She is survived by her daughter, Erinn Graham, of London, England; her son and daughter-in-law, Ivan and Jessica Graham and granddaughter, Maya, of Lincolnville Beach; her sister, Sarah Petersen Whittington, of Hobbs, N.M.; her brothers, the Hon. Charles E. Petersen of Aurora, Ill., Robert Petersen of Boston; and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Melissa Ann Petersen Graham’s life will be held in the spring, with details to follow. Memories and condolences may be shared at ripostafh.com.

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