Mary Pat Graham: 1952-2023
Last updated 2/8/2023 at 3:49pm
Mary Pat Graham (née Plymale) of Mukilteo, Washington - well-known vocal coach, choral conductor, and pianist - passed away on Jan. 16, 2023, after a heroic battle with cancer.
Mary Pat was born in Everett, Washington, on July 16, 1952, to Patrick F. Plymale and Carol A Plymale and was the oldest of their six children. She graduated from Fort Wright College in Spokane, Washington, with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. She lived in Alaska for nearly a decade where she met her husband Donald Gordon (Gordy) Graham before returning to Washington in 1987.
Mary Pat was a professional musician, and her music touched the lives of many. In Anchorage, she was the assistant chorus master and rehearsal pianist for the Anchorage Opera, as well as the choir director for the Archdiocese of Anchorage. She is best known for the inspirational performance she conducted to welcome Pope John Paul II in 1981 in an outdoor mass with a choir of 100 and an audience of over 10,000. She made such an impact that the Pope invited the choir to perform in the Vatican, which they did in 1982. After returning to Washington, Mary Pat's professional accomplishments included being assistant chorus master for the Seattle Opera, choir conductor for Lady of Fatima Parish in Seattle, and choir conductor for the Seattle Jewish Chorale.
Throughout her career, she worked passionately with both professional and amateur voices to help people develop their talents and increase their well-being through singing. She was the founder and director of Sing for Your Life, an organization for people of every age and ability. She believed that group singing can renew energy, relieve anxiety, and alleviate stress – something to which her many students can attest.
Mary Pat is survived by her husband Gordy, her son Aaron, her mother, Carol Plymale, as well as her siblings Mike, John, Susie, Katie, Mark, and their families, her "sisters of the heart," Kaye Snyder and Selina Chu, and many more besides. To name everyone whose life she touched through her warmth and good humor would be an impossible task. The world was a better place with Mary Pat in it, and she will be dearly missed.
The family thanks Providence Hospice and Home Care for their professionalism and comfort for Mary Pat during her final days.
"Keep on singing, however you can – you'll feel better!"