John C. Graham, 92, of Mt. Airy, an artist and teacher who was a former president of the Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia, died Dec. 23 of congestive heart failure at Holy Redeemer Hospital in Meadowbrook.
Mr. Graham, an artist all his life, started out by making wood block prints and moved on to painting in acrylics, sculpture and mobiles. In recent years he enjoyed creating collages.
He served as director of the Wagner Institute for eight years before retiring in 1988. He joined Wagner as a teacher in the 1970s and obtained numerous grants for the institute that ranged from improving the facility, specimen typing and architecture feasibility to establishing an after-school homework program for community children.
He came out of retirement to serve as education director for Awbury Arboretum and, later, as education director for the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks.
During the 1970s Mr. Graham co-founded and operated a mobile children’s museum called the Children’s Museum of Philadelphia that presented exhibits and workshops during the U.S. Bicentennial.
He was a partner and artisan at the former Craft Store on Maplewood Mall in Germantown and co-owned two art galleries in Philadelphia.
Early in his career he made relief maps for what is now Keystone Aerial Surveys and for several years was an exhibits developer at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Mr. Graham enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 during World War II and served in several European campaigns, including the five-month battle to secure the Anzio beachhead in Italy. After the war, he obtained his high school diploma and went on to graduate from what is now the University of the Arts.
A Mt. Airy resident for 57 years, he was an avid gardener and loved music, history, geography and science. He and his wife, Susan, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in August 2014.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Donald; a daughter, Virginia, and three grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, at the Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive, in Mt. Airy. Memorial donations may be made for use in children’s programs at the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, 321 S. 4th St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; the Wagner Free Institute of Science, 1700 W. Montgomery Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19121, or Awbury Arboretum, 1 Awbury Road, Philadelphia, PA 19138. – WF