Community mourns longtime educator

Recorder Staff
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Accolades are coming in for Earl McGraw, a longtime educator in the Franklin County area, who died on Wednesday from his battle with stage 3 lung cancer.

Friends and community members took to social media to offer condolences and share memories of the Turners Falls High School assistant principal, who was well liked in the education community. He had previously worked at Franklin County Technical School and Amherst High School.

McGraw was on leave from his new job at Turners Falls High School.

According to a post by McGraw’s wife, Roxanne, on a Facebook page titled “Earl’s Updates,” he died on Wednesday. She said he was diagnosed about a year ago.

“I know his wish for all of his kids was to pass on whatever he did for you that made you feel special, do that for others,” The post said. “Treat EVERYONE with respect, don’t judge, you do not know their story, if you have a passion pursue it with all your heart, if you see someone is down try to lift them up. He was an angel on earth and he would want all of you to continue being the best person you can be.”

Turners Falls High School Principal Anne Leonard posted the school’s Facebook page about McGraw’s passing.

“Mr. McGraw lived every moment in the name of respect, and love, and justice,” She said in the post. “He greeted us with a shout, he was never afraid to dance or sing when called for or uncalled for, and he insisted that we always see the strength and potential in every person, including ourselves, no matter how deeply it was buried.”

Gill-Montague Regional School District Superintendent Michael Sullivan said in a statement that McGraw had a positive impact on hundreds of students.

“He was a talented teacher and an extraordinary assistant principal,” He said in the statement. “He had a magnetic personality and a giant heart and was able to create strong connections with individual students almost immediately. Principal Leonard aptly and affectionately referred to Earl as our kid whisperer.”

On the Earl’s Updates page, current and former students as well as friends posted photos of McGraw and messages about him.

Bobby Campbell, who was one of McGraw’s friends for over 25 years, said the way McGraw cared about the community was extraordinary.”

McGraw is survived by his wife and his two children, Kiana and Jalen.

Miranda Davis covers
Montague, Gill and Erving. You can reach her at
413-772-0261 ext. 280 or mdavis@recorder.com