Erma Ruth (Graff) Sainsbury, 87, died peacefully Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 at her home in Sunnyside, surrounded by her family, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Erma was born the eldest of 11 children on April 1, 1922 to Burton and Ruth Prescott in Burley, Idaho. After spending seven years in Burley the family moved to Butte for a year before moving to St. Ignatius, Montana, where her father was the town blacksmith. Erma always felt St. Ignatius was home and returned many times to visit over the years. She met Jacob Graff at St. Ignatius and after a short courtship they were married in Missoula on Dec. 18, 1937. In February 1938 they moved with the entire Graff family to Sunnyside.
Erma and Jake made their home together in the Lower Valley for 45 years, during which time they brought their sons Dick and Tim and daughter Eileen into the world.
She, like many in her day, worked in the fields picking hops, grapes, cutting and packing asparagus to make ends meet. She later worked in the scale house at Libby's followed by 20 years at Sunnyside General Hospital and three years at Sunnyside Community Hospital.
In September 1967 she lost her daughter Eileen to a car accident. Erma and Jake embraced the responsibility of raising their two-year-old grandson, Garin Moore, who was like a son to them.
She was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, teaching Sunday School for 33 years, and working in other offices within the church. She had a strong faith and loved her church family.
She always enjoyed family gatherings whether they were Prescott or Graff events. She was loved and respected by all.
On July 2, 1982 she lost her husband Jake to a heart attack.
She continued to make her home in Sunnyside until Oct. 27, 1987, when she married Stan Sainsbury of Zillah. One year later they were sealed in the Seattle Temple.
Erma and Stan made their home in Zillah and enjoyed traveling to Arizona for the winter and made many memorable trips across the country, to Hawaii and a special trip to England to visit Sainsbury relatives. She was embraced by the Sainsbury family and grew to love them as they loved her.
In 2004 Erma and Stan moved to Sunnyside, where she continued to care for Stan until his death on June 2, 2008.
She is survived by two sons: Richard "Dick" Graff (Sandy) of Othello and Tim Graff (Sherri) of Outlook, and grandson Garin Moore of Grandview; three stepsons, Clary Sainsbury of Spokane, Phil Sainsbury (Laurie) of Murray, Utah and Lyle Sainsbury of Moses Lake; three brothers, Ralph Prescott (Alice) and Donald "Skeeter" Prescott of Sunnyside and Howard "Bud" Prescott (Ellen) of Longview; six sisters, Marjorie Van Belle (Charles) of Longview, Betty England of Walla Walla, Helen McGlinchy (Jim) of Longview, Shirley White (Ken) of Milton Freewater, Ore., Joyce Armstrong (Larry) of Quincy and Barbara Hogan of Kelso. A total of 16 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild also survive, along with scores of nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her brother Grant, daughter Eileen Moore, grandson Kirk Graff, her mother and father, husband Jacob Graff, great-grandson Frankie Corral, and husband Stan Sainsbury.
Viewing and visitation will be held at Valley Hills Funeral Home, Sunnyside from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010.
Services will be held at the Sunnyside Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1 p.m. Monday, March 1, 2010. Graveside services will follow at the Zillah Cemetery.
Valley Hills Funeral Home, Sunnyside, is in charge of arrangements
The family would like to thank the Lower Valley Hospice staff and in particular nurses Michelle, Heidi, Pam and Debbie for the loving, professional care they provided and to Sunnyside Sun Terrace staff who were always there for mom.
Memorials can be made in Erma's name to Lower Valley Hospice, 3920 Outlook Road, Sunnyside, WA 98944. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.valleyhillsfh.com.