Local woman’s estate leaves nearly $680K to KY Library

Family of Cleo Graham present check to board of trustees

- Submitted photo Steve VandeZande, Kendall Young Library board of trustees, Monday night accepted a check for $479,891.90 from Tracy and Kolleen Taylor, nephew and niece of the late Cleo Graham. The contribution from Graham’s estate, combined with an additional $200,000 previously donated, brings the total gift to $679.891.

The Kendall Young Library Board of Trustees on Monday night received a six-figure gift on behalf of the estate of Cleo Graham.

A check for $479,891.90 was presented by Graham’s nephew and niece, Tracy and Kolleen Taylor. Includiong an initial donation of $200,000, the total distributed by the estate was $679,891.90.

Graham died on Nov. 25, 2018 at the age of 103, but her personal legacy in support of the arts and libraries has just been finalized.

Memorial were directed to libraries in Ellsworth and Story City in addition to Kendall Young Library. Also receiving donations were the First Congregational United Church of Christ and Almost Home pet rescue shelter.

Born in Jewell on July 15, 1915, she and her family moved to Webster City in 1920, choosing the community because of the fine library it had built. Her father purchased farmland orth of Webster City and she grew up on the road now known as Blueberry Hill. attending rural schools until high school, and graduating from Lincoln High School in 1932 at the age of 16. She became certified to teach in the rural schools through Normal School training, teaching at Harmony, Fremont and Cass Union Schools before she married Ralph Wendall Graham in a private ceremony in Webster City. After her marriage, she worked periodically for Hahne Printing Company and Woodard Feeds in addition to her role as a housewife and supported her husband in his farming operations.

Her love of children was demonstrated in her teaching records, as she took photos and created notebooks of her country school classes. The children of her classrooms became critically important to her, according to family members, and she cherished her years of teaching.

A voracious reader. Graham read every book in her home multiple times, in addition to supporting area libraries. She volunteered at the Webster City schools to read and work with children well into her 90s.

Kendall Young library Director Ketta Lubberstedt-Arjes said the Graham donation will help the library continue its programming.

“We’re very grateful for this donation which will allow us to continue our mission to provide top-notch services which include innovative programs and resources that will enrich the lives of our library patrons and the community,” according to Lubberstedt-Arjes


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