Melissa Peterson Graham, obituary

Posted:  Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 4:00pm

LINCOLNVILLE BEACH — Melissa Peterson Graham passed away on the first of December, 2017, at Sussman House in Rockport, Maine, surrounded by her family. She was born on May 14, 1939 in Aurora, Illinois, to the Honorable John S. Petersen and Helen (Loomis) Petersen.

Melissa grew up in Aurora, graduating from West Aurora Senior High School in 1957. She went from there to the University of Miami and then on to San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico in 1960 to take advantage of the thriving international artists' community there. After her time in Mexico, she settled in San Francisco, California, where she met and became engaged to Michael Graham.

Melissa and Michael were married on August 19, 1964 on her family's farm back in Aurora. She and Michael spent a year together in Italy before returning to the States and settling in Brooklyn, New York. They had two children together, Erinn Graham (b. 1968) and Ivan Graham (b. 1972); they later divorced.

From New York, Melissa moved to Jamaica Plain in Boston, where she taught at a Montessori school and studied nursing at Boston University.

In 1982, she moved to Lincolnville Beach, Maine, with her two children.

Melissa was perhaps best known in the Midcoast for her time spent at the ABCD Bookstore on Bay View Street in Camden, Maine. She worked there from 1984 until the much-loved shop closed its doors in 2009.

Specializing in antique books, Melissa was a true bibliophile and happily shared her knowledge and enthusiasm for the printed word from her post at ABCD Books. Melissa was also known for her beautiful gardens and love of animals, music, and the arts.

She is survived by her daughter, Erinn Graham, of London, England; her son and daughter-in-law, Ivan and Jessica Graham and granddaughter, Maya, of Lincolnville Beach; her sister, Sarah Petersen Whittington of Hobbs, New Mexico; her brother, the Honorable Charles E. Petersen of Aurora, Illinois; her brother, Robert Petersen of Boston, Massachusetts; and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Melissa Ann Petersen Graham's life will be held in the spring, with details to follow. Memories and condolences may be shared at