Emelia B. (Millie) McErquiaga Graham
Thursday, March 06, 2014 4:00 PM
Emelia B. (Millie) McErquiaga Graham, 94, passed away Sunday, March 2, 2014 in Winnemucca.
Millie was born Feb. 12, 1920 at the Busch Hotel in Winnemucca to Bruno and Candida (lrazusta) McErquiaga of the Horse Creek Ranch in the Kings River Valley, where they homesteaded in 1907. Millie grew up there with her many brothers and sisters.
Her parents sent Millie to Winnemucca in the mid 1930s to help her older sister, Mary, at the Martin Hotel, which their father owned.
After the family sold the Martin, Millie worked for Charlie Chang at his Chinese restaurant in Winnemucca. She often used her own wages to buy meals for those who did not have the money to pay.
In 1937, the family moved to the Guadalupe Ranch of Orovada, Nev. Millie loved ranch life, especially being outdoors with the horses. Her brothers, Frank and Hank, said she could outride any of them. She loved racing anyone on horseback, always winning. One race she even won by arriving at the barn first, flying over the horse's head, knocking herself out cold.
Millie met and married James R. Graham, of Des Moines, Iowa, in 1940. They lived in Winnemucca, where Jim and a partner ran Pete's Place, a tavern in town. They opened their home to many teenagers from the ranches, who came to Winnemucca to attend high school.
In 1950, Jim and Millie, along with their three children, moved to the Getchell Mine. There, Millie was known as the "fun Mom", always willing to take the neighborhood kids fishing, hiking, and sledding. In 1954, the family moved to Henderson, Nevada. Friends and family loved visiting them in Henderson, where Millie chauffeured them around, sightseeing. In 1959, Jim and Millie moved their family back to Winnemucca, where Millie lived the rest of her life.
Millie had a caring heart, eager to help anyone. She actively participated in teaching local Basque dancing in the 1970s.
Millie loved watching her great-grandchildren play sports. She could be found cheering on Lowry High School basketball and softball teams. She also enjoyed her lunches at the Senior Center with her dear friends, Carol Aldous and Angie Mentaberry.
Millie loved gardening, particularly her flower gardens. Her passion for growing beautiful flowers was reflected in her yard, which was the envy of many.
She loved knitting and crocheting, making numerous Afghan blankets, doilies, and other gifts that happy recipients will forever treasure. She was also the family seamstress, the one who was there to mend a shirt, or hem a pair of slacks. She loved baking, known throughout the family for her delicious cinnamon rolls, chocolate cake, and banana bread.
Millie was preceded in death by her husband, Jim, in 2002, her parents, Bruno and Candida, her brothers, Bruno, Joe, Leon, Julio, John, Frank, and Hank. Her sisters, Mary (Zabala), Connie (Farmer), Grace (Peluaga) and stillborn, Anne, also preceded her in death.
Millie is survived by her children, Grace Wegman, of Brimfield, Ill., Sharon (John) Moore, and Rick (Kathy) Graham, of Winnemucca, sister Carmen (Marvin) Clausen, of Boise, Idaho, sister-in-law Grace McErquiaga, of Orovada's River Ranch, seven grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Millie requested no services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Winnemucca Junior Golf Program, at 1395 Mizpah St., Winnemucca, the Lowry High School Athletics Program at 5375 Kluncy Canyon Rd, Winnemucca, or the Senior Citizen's Center at 1480 Lay St., Winnemucca, Nevada, 89445.