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Stewart Obit: Paddy Graber (1925-2015) (17) Obit: Paddy Graber (1924-2015) 28 Dec 15

Paddy Graber died a couple of days ago - about Dec. 26, 2015, at age 91 - in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. He was born in Co. Tipperary, Ireland in 1924. From his mother, Eileen (Mead), a well-known traditional singer, he learned a vast repertoire of songs. After serving with the British Army during World War 2, he went to England for a few years and then emigrated to Canada in the 1950s, where he worked in the copper mines and later as a physical therapist in Vancouver. He was active as a traditional singer and also story teller. His wife, Phyllis, died a few years ago.

In addition to his Irish songs, Paddy has written songs about British Columbia - Britannia Mine, Copper Mountain Raise, Hope-Princeton Slide, Degrading Tale of 1970, and others.

I met Paddy in 1997 at the Seattle Song Circle's Rainy Camp, and he stayed at my home whenever he came down to Seattle for the Northwest Folklife Festival. During those stays at my home I recorded many of his songs and produced a CD "Paddy Graber - The Craic Was Great" in 2004.

In 2009 Paddy suffered a severe stroke, which affected his memory so that he could no longer sing. It was fortunate that I recorded him when I did. I also have other unpublished recordings of his songs.

Paddy was quite a character - controversial, entertaining, a source of many stories, an authority on traditional Irish songs - and a good friend for many years. It is, in a way, the end of an era - a source singer, of which few remain. Here is a article I wrote about him in the Victory Music Review in 2004. Goodbye dear friend.

Cheers, S. in Seattle

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