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John Martin "Marty" Graham


John Martin "Marty" Graham

John Martin ‘Marty’ Graham, 59, was born at the Hôtel Dieu Hospital in Moncton, New Brunswick and passed away 59 years later at the same hospital.

He was the son of Duncan Graham and Monica née MacDonald; brother of Glenda, Anne, Steve, Greg and Allister.

Marty was always a unique character who quietly (and not so quietly) did extraordinary things.  He enjoyed playing sports and was active in hockey, baseball, football, and marathon running.

Through his youth, he bewildered teachers, coaches, referees, employers, his family and friends with his energy and drive. Slowly he focused these strengths to become a top-notch teacher and far-flung traveller. His life became awe-inspiring to those who knew him and those who met him along the way.

He became a cyclist in 1981 when he left Edmonton, Alberta with twenty dollars in his pocket and rode home to Moncton to attend his brother's wedding.  From there, cycling adventures took place regularly. He biked across the United States of America; from London to New Delhi; from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina to Prudhoe Bay Alaska, through the Arctic and across Canada again; from Daegu South Korea to China, South-east Asia, across Australia, to India, Pakistan China, the "Stans", Iran, Turkey, through the Middle East and across to Africa where he zigzagged his way to Cape Town, South Africa.

Marty was a prolific postcard writer and anyone who received one cherished the tiny script that enabled him to fit the entire history, geography, ethnography and local folklore of the village he sent it from.

On his trips, he met many law enforcement people, throughout the world and with charm and stubbornness he managed to part company with them. He spent long periods of time at airports being questioned about his well-stamped passport.

After a torturously long period, he received his undergraduate degree from Acadia University followed by a Masters in Linguistics from McQuarie University in Australia (he biked to get it, of course) and had been working towards a Diploma in International Development.

Marty Graham was a fierce believer that the "everyday people" of the world no matter race or religion or belief were kind and decent people.  His life was saved more than once by the people who have the least in this world.

Marty was devoted to his family and friends. He never missed a birthday from wherever he was in the world including his father's 80th birthday.  On this special occasion, he chained his bike to a lamppost in Istanbul and travelled home to the east coast to surprise his father and family before returning to Istanbul to continue his journey.  He was described by a cousin as "a hermit on a bicycle".

Marty always downplayed his adventures and as a result, only a small portion of his stories are known.  It was a privilege if late at night when the conditions were right and your reaction appropriate, he let a story or two slip out.

Marty spent the final two months of his life in the vicinity of the Georges Dumont Hospital. He could not be confined - he was a traveller to the end.  He was a source of concern for the wonderful and caring staff of the hospital, but he was "the boss" and they let him go out.  He went through several wheelchairs as he provided family and friends daily guided tours of the city.  He drank prodigious amounts of coffee, the odd ale while eating at numerous restaurants in Moncton's downtown core.  Marty could give a colourful tour whether it be Moncton, Istanbul or any number of places throughout the world.

Marty was a constant source of material for his many nephews and nieces.  His trips would inform and inspire many a school presentation over the years.

He will be missed and remembered by his loyal friends across the country and around the world.  He leaves behind his father Duncan of Moncton NB, his sister Anne (Sherif) of Lachine PQ, Steven (Gloria) of Chester NS, Greg (Tanya) and Amber of Nanaimo BC and Allister (Leanne) of Canning NS; brother-in-law, Malcolm Grieve of Wolfville, NS; nieces and nephews : Bronwen, Ailish, Jordyn, Keith, Matthew, Scott, Lori, Flynn, Eddy, Kaylee, Brianna, Rory; special aunts: Mary Jane MacDonald of Judique, Shirley Clement of Moncton and his many friends and extended family.

Marty was a son, brother, uncle, friend, teacher, traveller, reader, writer, minimalist, hoarder, contradiction, curmudgeon, wit, human search engine, border pusher, a border crosser, historian, statistician, consumer of food cooked by others... But he was one of a kind.  As "The Boss" says in Terry's Song "when they built you brother they broke the mould".  Safe travels.

The family will receive condolences and share memories at the Frenette Funeral and Cremation Centre, 88 Church Street, Moncton (858-1900) on Tuesday, July 3rd from 6 to 9 pm with a prayer service at 8:30 pm.

In memory of Marty, donations may be made to Acadia University - Glenda Graham Memorial Bursary in Education, the St. Andrews Church Judique Roof Fund or the Dr. Léon Richard Oncology Centre.

The family would like to thank the staff of the Georges Dumont Hospital (Oncology and 3F) for their care and kindness.

Please visit to learn more about Marty's life or to leave words of comfort or donations.