November 16, 1933 – March 15, 2023


Graham was born the second of three boys to George Place and Louise (nee Roberts); with elder brother Robert, and younger brother Thomas (Tom).  After George and Louise divorced (a shockingly rare event in the late 1940’s), Graham gained two more siblings (Gwen and Sam) born to Louise and Samual Uhlick (senior).  Graham’s father also remarried (Ann) but they did not have children together.  Graham was close to all his siblings throughout his life and was pre-deceased by his parents (on various dates) and eldest brother in 2009.

As a child of depression era parents, Graham grew up strongly valuing independence, hard work, and family commitment – characteristics that he carried throughout his 89 years. 

All of Grahams siblings shared an aptitude for machines (or how things work), a love of nature, and creativity in various ways.  While it was common for children of depression era parents to be able to make or create things from scratch as needed, Graham took this trait to the highest level.

Graham took an interest in power watercraft through his teens, often waterskiing with his friends on the North Saskatchewan River and nearby lakes using barrel staves or wooden disks as skis – upon which they had fastened cut pieces of automobile tires for foot holds.  Wanting to go faster, but not being able to afford to purchase a speedboat, Graham built from scratch a wooden speedboat that he used for several years.


Graham loved life, he loved living, and the only bad day was one in which you neither assisted a friend or loved one, you didn’t accomplish any meaningful work nor did you experience something truly enjoyable.

Graham was the first of his peers to do, or stop doing, many activities well ahead of current trends.  His love of watersports and fishing was not confined to the region above the waves.  He was an early adopter of the recently commercialized SCUBA systems, which he purchased in the 1960’s to allow him to spear-fish in Alberta lakes.  His passion for photography was also evident in the underwater environment – as he assembled and extensively used an underwater camera rig. 

Graham stopped smoking before it was a fashionable choice, and this had a marvelous impact on his underwater hockey performance (yes, underwater hockey was a thing).  Playing against police officers and firefighters, he could hold his breath a remarkably long time – and so it became his strategy to freeze the puck on the bottom of the pool until his opponents needed to surface to catch their breath – at which time he would swim the puck to the other end to score goals!

In the mid 1970’s (coincidentally around the time the movie Deliverance was filmed), Graham coordinated a river camping trip on the headwaters of the North Saskatchewan with his friends and colleagues he’d met through work.  As an excellent outdoorsman, Graham had taught Daryl and Greg how to paddle a canoe and much more than the basics of living outdoors.  Graham cleverly built rigid trusses for the top of the canoe, which enabled Daryl, Greg and Graham to keep their gear dry while they paddled through rapids – their torso’s extending through a polyethylene topper in a manner very kayak-like.  On the very first day it became clear that, while Graham had taught his boys how to paddle effectively, negotiate rapids, right an overturned canoe, and paddle a flooded canoe – some of the other parties were woefully unprepared.  By days end, Graham and his boys had rescued the other men (including their canoes and camping gear),  two times.  What a workout!  On the second morning, after heavy rains caused the river to rise by more than a foot and washed the canoes downstream, Graham set out with his friend Norm  on foot to find a road, get a lift to the next downstream town, and talk power riverboaters into finding and towing the canoes upstream to the remaining campers.

Graham never missed an opportunity to try something new, whether it was hiking, cross country skiing (a full family experience), snowmobiling, motorcycling, downhill skiing, or sky-diving (when he was 59) – Graham was up for it.  And he didn’t just ‘try things’ – he went all-out!  After learning to ski downhill in his middle age, he was following Daryl down a black diamond run at Marmot… when Daryl began stopping to ‘see how the old man was doing’ – Graham flew past at speed (he was keeping up the whole time).


In the spring of 1953, Graham was introduced to Christine Krytor (then 15 and a half!) through mutual friends and Christine’s sister, Kay, who had arranged for Christine to attend a gathering.  The initial meeting was strictly a ‘necessary partnering’ because the social event was intended for couples.  It was a ‘blind date’ – but neither Chris nor Graham considered it a date, they just talked pleasantly – or danced – and got to know each other a bit.  Graham kissed Christine on their second ‘actual date’ some weeks later.  Graham was smitten from that day on. 

Christine also saw something in Graham in those first few meetings; he was handsome, very kind, interesting (he pointed out constellations of stars), very respectful and truly interested in everything Christine had to say.  Nowadays, it would seem reckless for a not-yet-sixteen-year-old girl to be paired with a young man of almost 20 – but times were different then.  While Christine was finishing grade 10, Graham was completing his training to be an electrician at SAIT and they got together whenever they could, which was not very often.

Graham was fortunate to make a positive first impression on Christine’s parents, Peter and Mary Krytor.  While the young Christine had a strict curfew of 11PM, she was allowed to stay out until midnight if they were dancing… they seemed to do a LOT of dancing.

Graham’s connection with Christine’s parents grew stronger and stronger; Graham’s natural tendency to listen mindfully impressed everyone.  Graham was a frequent guest at Krytor family events, and Peter undertook to teach Graham how to fish for trout, hunt small game, and learn more about living outdoors as Peter regaled him with stories of pioneering through the early part of the 20th century. 

Christine and Graham dated for five years, marrying May 10 of 1958 in the United Church.  It was a smaller affair (by todays’ standards), but intimate and warm with Graham’s brother Robert standing up for him, and Christine’s sister Kay the maid of honor.

Chris and Grahams first home together was a basement suite , it was an austere existence with few amenities (such as furniture!).  They had a bedroom suite Chris had previously bought, an ironing board they used as a table, a clothes hamper they sat side by side on, and they couldn’t be happier!  The newlywed’s favorite activity was ‘surprise movies’ at the Garneau theatre in Old Strathcona, where love seats were available, and they could be close and never know what movie was being featured.  Aside from this luxury, all their combined income was used for essentials or savings.  Although Chris and Graham had planned to work for a few years, enjoy being newlyweds, and save up for a home; mother nature had different plans… their first son, Daryl was born 9 months and 5 days after their wedding, in early 1959.

Chris and Graham moved to Sterling Manor in 1959 and were able to reduce their rent by managing the property and keeping it physically sound (caretakers).  By this time, they’d added a living room suite to their shared belongings and loved to entertain their friends while Daryl toddled or slept nearby.

Because Graham wanted several children, and both Chris and Grahams birth families had been so spread out in time, they came to a mutual decision to have their children close together.  And so it was:  after Daryl (born in 1959), came Greg (1960), Janice (1962) and Trevor (1965).  There were plenty of other changes and transitions through this period: the young family briefly lived in Saskatoon for much of the fall of 1962 and the spring of 1963 (electrical project for Graham), and then the family lived with Grandma Louise upon returning to Edmonton to help her convalesce after surgery by taking care of Grahams half-siblings Gwen and Samuel (Jr). While Christine was busy being a mom through this time, Graham went on to start a private business with friends in the electrical industry.  Graham worked HARD, often late in the day and on weekends; this allowed he and Chris to purchase their first and only family home in Capilano which they moved into in August of 1963.

The house was basic in structure, but Christine wasn’t particularly enthralled with its famously ugly turquoise sheet metal cupboarded kitchen, plain (read “cheap”) appointments, wringer washer, and bare concrete basement.  But Graham said: ‘Chris, it may not look like it now, but this house has good bones and lots of potential’ (that only he could see).  Upgrades happened as fast as they could afford, starting with a basement bathroom and a whirly-bird (outside clothes-dryer-hanger) that Graham built out of electrical conduit.

Chris started working late 1964 or early 1965 to save money for an automatic washer, and when the time came for Graham to bring the washer home, he ALSO brought home an automatic electric dryer as a surprise present.  There were tears of joy!

Graham was always present for kids’ activities and often volunteered to organize, support, coordinate or coach.  By the late 1960’s the family began a tradition of camping using a tent trailer pulled behind the family car, a station wagon.  Many camping trips were had, and Graham shared his love of nature, exploration, fishing, and canoeing.  Every camping trip concluded with a ‘camp sweep’ whereby the entire family would comb the campsite for the smallest crumble of detritus.  Graham’s motto was to ‘leave it cleaner than we found it’, and we kids learnt that he meant it – through multiple do-overs.

Chris and Graham made their first trip to Oahu in 1973 for the sum expense of $338 before food, while the kids were watched at home by Grandma and Grandpa Krytor.  They loved it so much that they returned in 1974 with all the kids (and visiting the three largest islands of Hawaii, Oahu and Maui), and again in 1976 with friends.

While Graham loved camping, Christine didn’t always love the tent trailer… the set-up and take-down, forgetting parts (like doors), snow collapses, kids falling out the sides, road hazard, and bears waking up the children by scratching their backs against the bottom of the slide outs (“WHAT’S THAT MOM!?”… “Don’t worry sweetheart, it’s just a bear.”)  So, through the early 1970’s Graham began studying the design of truck mounted ‘campers’ – none of which were suitable for a family of 6.  In 1976, Graham created his own camper design and started building it in the garage, again from scratch.  The camper was the talk of the neighborhood as Graham could be seen whiling his weekends and nights away in the garage, with the blind of the welding arc, the fierce tear of the grinder, clanks and bangs of heavy construction emanating from the garage. 

On 7-7-77, Graham rolled his creation out of the garage on steel pipes (after removing the header of the garage door for needed clearance) so he could finish the exterior.  His work of functional art never failed to turn the heads of other RV owners, many of which asked Graham if he would consider building them one.  He merely chuckled.  As the kids grew older and no longer slept in the camper, Chris and Graham opted for a more spacious fifth wheel for long trips, such as their journey to the east coast and through the northern US.

Christine credits their everyday routine of late evening walks to discuss the events of the days or the kids’ problems/issues free of prying ears and other electronic listening devices.  The beauty of these walks was that confrontational issues could be addressed without actual confrontation (it’s hard to address your partner face to face if you are actually walking side-by-side together in the dark; quite symbolic actually, and highly recommended).  By the time the walk was complete, and they’d returned home, the issues were either resolved or a shared plan established.  Young parents, you should try it.

Between travel for pleasure by themselves, family travel, travel with friends and travel for work (electrical conventions) Graham and Christine were fortunate to visit Hawaii, San Fransisco, New Orleans, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Anguilla, St. Martín, Mazatlan, a European River Cruise (several stops), much of Eastern Canada and Northern US, as well as dozens (or hundreds?) of well-known and lesser-known locations throughout western Canada.  Their favorite ‘just us’ place was Stauffer’s Creek, where Chris and Graham would go just to be by themselves, enjoy nature, reconnect, and fish!

As their family grew older, married and had children of their own, Graham’s love of children was nurtured in the next generation. A grandfather of 16, great grandfather of three, Graham was as hand-on as circumstance and proximity would allow, always helping whenever he could.

Graham had a unique way of handling infants, carting them around on his forearm effortlessly, in a manner that would magically calm even the fussiest child (much the way he seemed to relax non-human animals). Graham’s inner peace drew the grandchildren to him, and he enjoyed their company, spending as much time as he could attending their soccer games, basketball games, hockey and ringette games, drama performances, going camping, fishing, driving them to events or babysitting. Annual camping trips with Chris and Graham to Carson Lake continued for over 20 years. Even the furry grandbabies (Vinny, Rosie, Sam, Jake and Jasper) were drawn to Graham’s love of all living things, and were treated with love, care and respect that Graham exuded as naturally as breathing.

Many friends and colleagues will attest to many instances where Graham made personal sacrifices to improve their lives, keep them safe, or just being a source of stability.  Graham was a respected role-model, a natural teacher and a mentor to many.  As to the former – Graham would, by example, just make you aspire to be a better person – to do right, to be strong and kind, to be honorable.  As to teaching, Graham rarely made a ‘lesson’ of anything, instead his wisdom was simply demonstrated, and it was impossible to not absorb at least some of it.  And ‘some’ was enough, there would be more opportunities in the future.  As to the last: Norm Sanders recently wrote that he started his career as an apprentice to Graham and that it didn’t take long for Graham to become a true mentor to Norm.  Norm went on to state that Graham remained a respected mentor to Norm throughout his life.

Always busy and hardworking, Graham undertook a multitude of post-retirement gig work.  He worked for friends and neighbors and friends of friends and neighbors.  Between him and his posse of life-long trades-person friends, there was nothing they could not handle. 

Graham worked in ‘advertising’ – assembling inflatable structures, often at extreme heights, tents and shelters for public and private events.  Graham also assisted Daryl by helping manufacture and install large commercial illuminated signs in Saskatchewan and Alberta.  It was well known that Graham could ascend and descend ladders and scaffolding much faster than the youngsters in the shop.

Graham’s last ‘paid gig’, well into his 80’s, was for his daughter-in-law’s real-estate investment company doing general handy work on single family homes, where he always charmed the tenants.

Graham worked, and enjoyed working, his entire life. Even after dementia claimed much of his cognitive function, he would still talk about tasks and work that needed to be done.


Graham respected all people’s beliefs and faiths, though he himself lost the desire to be an active church member in his middle years.  He believed that the universe, all of creation and the natural world were a gift we should never take for granted and himself strove to maximize the good and minimize the bad through his every word, act or deed. 

Daryl reflects on the privilege that he had to talk with Graham about Jesus, God, and salvation through faith during the many times Graham helped him with his business over many years. In the fall of 2019, Daryl led Graham in a salvation prayer to Jesus on the car ride back to Edmonton after what turned out to be Grahams last holiday (with Daryl, Gigi, Gordon, Janice and Christine). We believe that those of you who have also completed this spiritual journey will take comfort in the knowledge that Graham’s spirit is now free to be with God.

The family is deeply saddened by his loss, but we also recognize that Graham expressly wanted to avoid a life of infirmity – especially such as that brought on by Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. Graham’s last couple years at home in 2019 and 2020 presented challenges to both he and Christine, and the fortitude of Mom must be acknowledged for keeping Graham at home for as long as she could.

We will always remember Graham for his positive virtues, his impact on people, his calmness, his ability to see through nonsense, and most of all the comforting love and commitment he generously shared throughout his life.

This narrative may be updated from time to time; you are encouraged to return here to remember Graham anew or as many times as you would like. You are also encouraged to provide comments, stories, and messages for the family. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Alzheimer’s Society of Alberta and the NWT, or to the charity of your choice.

With love, peace, and faith,

Graham’s Family


  1. Cheryl Place

    Chris Place, told me many stories of his Uncle Graham abilities. Chris had a deep respect for his uncle. May God Bless the family. I will continue to pray for Uncle Graham and family.
    Cheryl Place

  2. Greg & Cyndie Annett

    Tom, Lynne & the Place Family
    Our deepest condolences go out to you. Seeing the beautiful reflection of memories shared above shows that Graham will continue to live on within your hearts as you recount story upon story over time about ‘remember when….’ These will never replace an individual, but somehow these stories mingled with tears, over time, seem to help heal our hearts.
    Greg & Cyndie Annett


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