Mark Graham

Mark S. Graham

Thursday, April 5th, 1956 - Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
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Obituary

Mark Seward Graham, who was co-owner of Westport’s WMMM AM for several years, and spent more than 25+ years in the broadcast business, working on air in major markets and throughout Connecticut, has died suddenly in Fairfield County. CT. He was 64 years old.

Graham was multi-talented as a broadcaster, entertainer, moderator and businessman along the way. His public speaking background goes back to his early days in grade school, and at Suffield Academy (1972-1975). Mark’s desire to work in radio was fostered by Suffield’s own on-campus AM radio station, WSAR AM, where he had a weekly air shift, and ultimately became Program Director and Station Manager. He also cut his teeth for the broadcast business by interning during the summer at Westport’s WMMM AM and WDJF FM, which is now WEBE FM, in Bridgeport.

Later, Graham attended the University of Missouri-Columbia (1975-1979), where he majored in speech and dramatic arts, as well as journalism, and gained valuable experience working on air at the University’s National Public Radio station, KBIA FM as an announcer and news reader. During summer vacations during college, he also worked in the display advertising department for The Norwalk Hour newspaper, Norwalk, Connecticut (1977-1979)

After graduation, Graham went to work for 18-time Grammy award winner (category: Polka) Jimmy Sturr’s radio station, WTBQ AM, in Warwick, New York (1979-1981), working and gaining valuable experience in all facets of the broadcast operations, including announcing, news and sports reporting, as well as sales. He then went on to WMMW AM, Meriden, Connecticut (1981-1982), as afternoon drive-time announcer. He was also the featured emcee for the 1982 Miss Meriden Beauty Pageant. Later that year, Mark was hired as news/ sports reporter and anchor for WSTC AM and WJAZ (formerly WYRS) FM, in Stamford, Connecticut (1982-1987).

The role that Graham was most fond of was as co-owner/ operator of WMMM AM, Westport, Connecticut (1987-1997), where he performed a multitude of tasks including all facets of on air work and sales production, as well as general manager. As a programmer, he also helped generate sales by offering brokered time to on air clients, including Shop and Save Radio, Radio Verdad Christiana Spanish broadcasting, Greek programming by Nellie Souvalido, New Haven Ravens baseball, Fairfield University football, Sacred Heart University basketball, and Family Fiesta Italian programming, featuring Peter D’Amico.

During his years at Westport’s local radio, Graham also worked with such names as longtime CBS radio executive Bob VanDerheyden, 9-time Grammy award winner Jose Feliciano (1990-1992) for the nationally acclaimed “Speaking Music” show, local realtor and former drummer for the Alice Cooper band, Neil Smith, nationally recognized and current Sirius satellite radio DJ Leslie Gold, the “Radio Chick” (Leslie got her start at WMMM), CBS Sports Jim Nantz, and former Italian House Party host John LaBarca, as well as a myriad of other local dignitaries and celebrities.

Graham also spent a part of 1988 in St. Louis, where it had been his strong desire to be able to broadcast from KMOX AM. He was asked by General Manager Bob Hyland to join the CBS owned radio station that can be heard in 44 states and all of Canada, to come to St. Louis as overnight news anchor, a position he gladly accepted.

Absolutely, the best part of his Westport radio days was Mark meeting his future bride, and love of his life, Angela, while broadcasting from the annual Italian Festival, in Saugatuck’s Luciano Park. They were married in 1990.

AM 1260 WMMM, became a long lost memory in 1997 when the station was donated to WSHU Radio, based at Sacred Heart University, in Fairfield, Connecticut.
After the station closed, the Graham family embarked in to the world of non profit charitable endeavors by starting the Graham Foundation of Connecticut, Inc., an IRS approved 501c3 corporation that assists other qualified charities in Fairfield County, Connecticut, that focus on the arts, education, physically challenged and sports causes.

During his career, Graham offered his services to many charitable and community organizations, serving on the board of directors for many organizations, including the Fairfield, Connecticut, Rotary Club, The Westport Country Playhouse and The Westport-Weston YMCA, as well as The American Cancer Society of New England, Norwalk, Connecticut. He was also a longtime member of the Fairfield County Hunt Club, Westport, and the Coral Beach & Tennis Club, Bermuda, and the New York Friars Club.

Graham was also co-owner of “Red” Graham’s Minuteman Travel, in Westport, Connecticut, a 50 year old travel agency started by his grandfather, Robert A. Graham, Sr. in 1951.

He is survived by his wife Angela, and son Harrison, who is a recent graduate of New York University, both of Fairfield, Connecticut, as well as numerous cousins in New York and Missouri. He is predeceased by his parents, Margaret (Peggy) P. & Robert A. “Red” Graham.

Funeral services for Mark will be announced at a later date. The Harding Funeral Home in Westport, CT is handling the arrangements. To leave an on line condolence please visit www.harding funeral.com
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C

Chandler

Posted at 02:56pm
Angela and Harrison,
I wanted to express my sincere condolences for your loss. I was a classmate of Mark's at Suffield Academy which seems like yesterday and also a century ago. I made only a couple of trips back to our renuions, since I live in the Washington DC area. Your husband / father was a true gentlemen and a great person. His charactor was already solid and well formed at an early age in high school. I liked Mark very much and envied his ability to mix with the range of personailties, from academics to athletes. I regret that I will not have a chance to connect up with him at our upcoming 50th renunion. I am sure you are missing him greatly, but I wanted you to know that he had a positive impression on more people that you may know. I hope your saddness passes and that you are able to enjoy the memories that you shared with Mark.
Chandler Hill

Janet Lustig Plotkin

Posted at 03:31pm
Mark was a delightful man and fellow Board member at the Westport Country Playhouse. Always upbeat, friendly and a pleasure to be with, he will be greatly missed. My condolences to the family. Janet Plotkin
RN

Robert Noeldechen

Posted at 11:35am
All our love, prayers, and strength at this time to Angela & Harrison. Mark will be truly missed - I always loved the time we spent together, whether it was at Christ & Holy Trinity when the children were young, enjoying a night out to dinner, or playing golf....such a delightful loving man. He will always be in our hearts. Love Rob Noeldechen & Family.
BI

Bridget Irving

Posted at 09:34pm
Angela and family-
I was so saddened to hear of Mark's passing. He was a kind and caring person. I remember fondly my days working with him and Red at the travel agency. My heartfelt condolences to you and Harry.

Bridget Irving
DS

Debbie Shea

Posted at 09:20pm
Angela, Harrison and the entire family,
Dennis and I are so saddened to hear of Marks passing. Be strong for each other in this most difficult time.
Mark will live on in your hearts and your memories of him will be with you always.
He is your Guardian Angel and he will forever watch over you. May God embrace him. Rest in Peace
Our deepest condolences,
Debbie and Dennis Shea
(Charlie's Aunt and Uncle)
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