Donald Hiller Graves, 80

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FALMOUTH — Donald Hiller Graves, 80, died Sept. 28 at Sedgewood Commons after a lengthy illness.  

He was born on Sept. 11, 1930 in Fall River, Mass., the son of Wilfred Graves and Marion Hiller.

He attended Bates College where he met his wife of 56 years, Mary “Betty” Elizabeth Lewis, while working in the dining hall.  

In 1952 he graduated from Bates  and joined the U.S. Coast Guard. After serving four years, he and his wife moved to Fairhaven, Mass., where he began teaching at the East Fairhaven Elementary School.  

In 1959 he received his master’s degree in education from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts and moved his family to New York to begin a career in educational ministry.

Several years later he earned his doctorate in education from the University at Buffalo and began his professorial career at the University of New Hampshire in the early childhood program.  

In 1976 he established the Writing Process Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, where his research was focused on the value of children’s writing. He remained at UNH until retiring in 1992.  

Over the years he wrote a total of 26 books, including professional texts and a book of poetry dedicated to his grandchildren.

In his retirement, he spent many happy hours as conservator of 14 acres of land at his mountainside home in Jackson, N.H. He traveled extensively with his wife, logging over 1,000 miles through Europe and taking many photos that he would later develop in his basement darkroom.

An avid athlete, he began running in the 1960s, long before it was fashionable.

He is survived by his wife Betty; daughter Marion Graves Chang and her husband Cheming, daughter Alyce Graves, daughter Caroline Graves Hodsdon and her husband Jack, son William Graves, daughter Laura Graves and her husband Bill Needelman; brother George Graves and his wife Joan; eight grandchildren.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at 9:30 a.m., Oct. 16 at the East End Community School, 195 North St., Portland, ME 04101.

Memorial contributions can be may be made to The Telling Room, Att: The Donald H. Graves Fund, 225 Commercial St., Suite 201, Portland, ME 04101.

Arrangements are by Independent Death Care, 660 Brighton Ave. Portland.

Condolences may be expressed online at

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