skip to Main Content

In memory of Graham Nelson Raynolds of Hadlyme; Informal memorial service scheduled for June 18, all welcome

IN MEMORIAM – Graham Nelson Raynolds

Graham Nelson Raynolds

HADLYME/LYME — Graham Nelson Raynolds was born on February 15e1931, the depths of the Great Depression and nearly eleven years before Pearl Harbor dragged the United States into World War II.

His father Randolph Raynolds had served as a doctor in Europe during World War I, and while those historic times along with his father’s PTSD and alcoholism (unrecognized and hidden, of course) profoundly shaped the young life and character of Graham and his brother Randy, Graham was known to all who met him during his 90s as friendly, engaging, caring, intelligent and good natured.

In 1936, the family purchased one of the houses built by Samuel Brooks around 1799 at Hadlyme Ferry, adjacent to the 122-acre property then owned by William Gillette (now Gillette Castle State Park). Along with his older brother, Graham attended a series of boarding schools in Connecticut, including the Avon School and Choate Rosemary Hall, from which he graduated in 1949.

He attended Brown University for two years from 1949 to 1951, then enlisted in the US Air Force during the Korean War, serving a four-year enlistment in the United States during which he received training in electronics and received an honorable discharge in March 1955. His sight had surely disqualified him from training as an Air Force pilot, but having been introduced to flight by his Choate classmate and lifelong friend Henry Blodgett, Graham earned his private pilot’s license in the late 1950s, while returning to Brown from 1958 to 1960 and earning a degree in geology.

Graham eventually learned to fly both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, and in the 1960s and 1970s made his living that way, living and working for varying periods along the United States Gulf Coast. flying helicopters to offshore oil rigs in the Middle East. for Saudi and Alaska helicopters, seaplane pilot as a bush pilot. It was here that his most colorful adventure had been, surviving for almost a week wearing only street clothes, after having to land the plane on a glacier due to low visibility, thanks to a down sleeping bag loaned to him minutes before takeoff by a worried airport agent; and a chance discovery of a hunting cabin filled with a few long-expired cans.

His return to Hadlyme as a more or less permanent resident from the 70s to live with his aging mother sadly made him one of the first victims of Lyme disease, which of course went unrecognized. and so named until fellow resident Polly Murray, whose husband and sons suffered from the now widely recognized symptoms, brought their plight (along with that of dozens of other residents) to the Council’s attention. of Connecticut Health.

The slow recognition and development of an effective treatment for Lyme disease by the “medical establishment” made Graham a “healthy skeptic” of mainstream doctors and hospitals for the rest of his life. However, anyone who had known him since the mid-1990s could not escape his admiration for Dr. Linus Pauling and his enthusiasm for Pauling’s doctrine of the broad disease-fighting and life-prolonging benefits of the daily mega-dose. of vitamin. VS

Although he avoided most aspects of organized religion as an adult, Graham enjoyed baroque music and choir singing when and where he could find it, which ironically was often in church – but even if it was just over the holidays singing at the family home in Hadlyme with the sheet music for ‘The Messiah’ in her lap. In what turned out to be one of the highlights of his later life, Graham joined The Chorus of Westerly (Rhode Island) in 1994 and remained an active participant for the next 19 years, happily traveling 45 minutes in each meaning every week or more often to practice the craft with so many other dedicated and welcoming singers.

He has participated in many, many performances with the Choir over the years, including the annual Twelfth Night, Summer Pops and performances of many classic works by Brahms, Handel, Mozart and many more. He enjoyed accompanying the band on their summer excursions to song camp, attending many annual sessions at Camp Ogontz in Lyman, New Hampshire, where he was delighted to learn from the legendary British choirmaster, organist, composer and music administrator Sir David Willcocks..

He also enjoyed travelling, taking part in the Westerly Chorus trip to England in 1995, where the group sang all the offices at Westminster Abbey on 5 and 6 August.e and their concert at St. Alban’s Cathedral was recorded live by Classic FM of Britain and later broadcast nationwide with introductory commentary by John Julius Norwich. Graham had other brushes with fame (or at least famous people), working for years designing and managing websites and various odd jobs for the famous (and later infamous) firearms expert. alumni, dealer and author Larry Wilson.

Always fascinated by advances in technology, Graham was always among the first to own a new gadget, and anything he considered particularly well-designed – whether it was one of Texas’ first red LED calculators Instruments, an audiophile-grade “boom box” by JVC, a Sony Trinitron color television or one of the original Apple Macintosh computers (and all editions of the “Mac” thereafter!).

Putting this interest in technology and electronics into practice, he started a business in the 80s with a local friend called “Prime Time Satellite TV” installing large satellite dishes in backyards around Lyme, East Haddam and surrounding areas for about ten years, until cable television overtook them. In the realm of well-designed gadgetry, Graham owned a red 1969 VW Camper bus and took solo trips and hikes, sometimes accompanying his brother’s family on camping trips in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

In the 70’s he bought a small open top motor boat with a 50 HP Mercury outboard and enjoyed taking his nephews and niece boating and water skiing on the Connecticut River and Selden Creek.

Throughout his life he was a lover of the outdoors, hiking and camping and even writing Appalachian Mountain Club membership checks. Until the end, he loved walking the trails of the Gillette Castle estate and he became an expert on the life and estate of the eccentric Gillette.

During his long adult life in Hadlyme, Graham served on the board of directors of the Hadlyme Ferry Association and was one of the first volunteer Lyme Ambulance Corps members.

He was predeceased by his mother, Ellen (Nelson) Raynolds, his father Randolph Raynolds and his brother Randolph Raynolds Jr. He is survived by his niece Alex Raynolds Skinner of Littleton, MA and his nephew Ned Raynolds of Portsmouth NH.

An informal memorial service celebrating Graham’s life and memory will be held on Saturday, June 18e at 11:00 a.m. at one of Graham’s favorite spots: the picnic area on the bank of the Connecticut River, just north of the Hadlyme Ferry landing. All are welcome, please bring a folding chair if you need one.

Back To Top