Candy was born in Orlando, Florida to Herbert E. DesGeorges, a Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF and Joyce C. DesGeorges, a church organist. When she was five years old, her family moved to her father’s new military post near Essey et Maiserez in the Lorraine region of France. The four years spent there were filled with travel not only around France, but also trips to England, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland. The excitement of always seeing something new, be it at Bavarian castle, an exciting city, or snow in August on the Swiss Alps, left a lasting impression on her and she developed an insatiable love for travel and adventure.
In 1959, her family moved back to the states and took up residence in western New York, first in Hamburg for four years and then another three in East Aurora. It was during this time that she learned to play piano and cello. She truly loved music and later in life she mastered the guitar and stand-up bass. While in New York, she developed an interest in acting and the theater, which she pursued during her last two years of high school in Florida. While giving a speech in one of her classes, she was amazed at the way she held the class’s attention and that discovery led to her participation in Toastmasters. While in Florida, she also became an enthusiastic, inventive cook. Bread baking became another passion during this time and was an activity she continued to enjoy throughout her life.
In the 1970’s, she moved to western Washington and lived for over 10 years in the Seattle area working at the University of Washington. During this time, she played stand-up bass in an old-time music quintet, did a lot of hiking and snow shoeing in the Cascade and Olympic mountains, and read as many books as she had time for. Knitting became a new pastime and she was soon creating beautiful sweaters and shawls, many of which she gave as gifts.
The urge to travel resurfaced and she moved to Austin, Texas, where she met Jack, her husband and love of her life, in 1986. She settled down and made a home for her family and their many pets. The holidays were a whirlwind as she flitted about making fudge, hot sauce, mustards, and cookies to give as gifts. Her love of cooking gave birth to Lunch and a Movie, for which she would research culinary specialties of the movie’s region and design a menu to complement it.
Beyond cooking, her interests continued to expand. She wrote several blogs, studied languages, learned how to crochet, do needlepoint, crewel, and embroidery; she played pool and brewed amazing ale. Up to the time of her death, she was continuing to learn, her newest passion wine.
She was an amazing woman with an amazing life. Her generosity and ability to forgive were boundless. She is a great example of how much one can enjoy living and she will be greatly missed.
Candy passed away at home, early Mother’s Day morning. She is survived by her husband Jack, daughter Jana, son Justin (Lori), grandchildren Alicia, Angelica, Justin Jr., and Presley; brothers Frank (Millie) and Doug, and sisters Cecile and Anne (Keith).
As she wrote in one of her blogs, “Life is a mystery and I can’t wait to turn the next page.”
Eulogy for Candy Graves
I want to thank you all for being here today to celebrate Candy’s life. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Elizabeth and Candy was my dearest friend. I first met Candy only 20 years ago when we both worked at the same organization. We became BFF’s and shared many adventures together because Candy was a fearless explorer. She possessed a restless curiosity, the desire to explore the world and all it offers and an insatiable desire to learn and experience new things. She was happy to have a girl friend to share these adventures with. Some of the adventures we took were simply discussing a book, or discovering a new restaurant, or an old wine, we also went together on trips – close by to Wimberly or Salado – but also as far away as Grenada and Guadalajara. She truly enjoyed experiencing some thing or exploring some place with which she was unfamiliar. She had a wanderlust that likely came from her having grown up in a military family, living in a dozen states or foreign countries by the time she graduated from high school. She always wanted to see what new thing was down the road. As she wrote in one of her blogs, “Life is a mystery and I can’t wait to turn the next page”.
Candy coupled this intellectual curiosity with a genuine appreciation for life. I marveled at her delight in even the simplest things such as a server placing a plater of grilled chicken in front of her. Her face would light up with the anticipated enjoyment of this grilled chicken dish. She found the fun in everything she did – planting the new seedlings, knitting a sweater, creating the menu and preparing the food for one of our lunch with wine and movie get-togethers. What many of us would suffer through as a chore, Candy would accomplish with great pleasure. Even with what she recently went through, especially because of what she was facing, every day was a gift to be savored.
Her enjoyment of life wasn’t limited to exploring new places or things. It extended to the people she met – she wanted to know you and her genuine interest left lasting impressions on most people she met, even that waitress delivering the grilled chicken. Because the next time we went to that restaurant, they knew Candy by name.
Candy’s adventurous spirit led her to explore a variety of interests and made her a life-long learner. Her quixotic nature led her to bounce from one project to another but she had realized early on that she didn’t have the drive to become any more excellent than she needed to be to enjoy what she learned. Once the challenge and vital interest was gone, she was very quick to move on.
Over her lifetime Candy learned to play the piano and guitar, she played stand-up bass in an Old-Time Music band- think square dances, not bluegrass so much – and she danced with several folk-dance troupes. When we were in Grenada, I took video of her dancing and shaking the tambourine to the steel band music with the biggest smile on her face. She learned how to sew, knit, and crochet. She created beautiful crewelwork and needlepoint wall hangings and embroidered blouses and jackets. She played pool, brewed ale, and started the Toastmasters group that meets at this church. She earned a degree in journalism and studied history, speech, the Balkan States and earth sciences. She spoke fluently in French and Spanish and was pursuing the Romanian language. She learned how to do something to the extent that she could do with it what she wanted, then moved on to the next thing that had caught her interest. She loved to cook and entertain, and to write and edit copy. One thing she remained passionate about was a good story whether by reading a book, crafting her own novel or blog entry, watching a movie, or hearing the stories people would tell about their own lives as she got to know them.
She liked to paddle around in the water but not swim because she was terrified of having her head under water. She liked her coffee in the morning and always had her mug of ice tea wit her. Always.
Candy also had a kind and generous spirit. She was a gift giver, and not just for holidays and birthdays. If she was out and about and saw a trinket or some useful item that she thought someone would like, she would get it for them. Or make it for them. She made awesome habanero-papaya hot sauce to share, brewed ale for her friend JJ and made fudge at Christmas for many of us. These were special because Candy herself did not like spicy food, ale or fudge but she made them for people who did like them and she made them with excellence. She gave herself, too, her time and energies to teach her children and grandchildren how to do the best in school and life. Candy valued kindness and had no time for pettiness. She didn’t take offense at a disagreement but she wouldn’t tolerate being disrespected or attempts to posses her or quash the freedom to be herself, independent and restless.
I think Candy was the epitome of Paul’s description of Love in his first letter to the Corinthians: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Candy’s deepest abiding love was her mother, Joy, who brought her into this world and taught her how to navigate it as a woman of intelligence and passion. Candy also deeply loved her father Herbert, her sisters and brother – Cecile, Ann, and Doug – her children Jana and Justin, and her grandkids – Christopher, Alicia, Belle, JJ, and Presley. She loved all her many dogs, especially Jake who she described as “loving and sweet, not a fighter”. Very much like Candy herself. Candy had many friends whom she loved, especially the 7/14 gang. But her greatest love, the heart of her heart, was Jack. The man for whom she quelled her wanderlust. She chose to settle with him in Austin and make a home for their family. Jack was the salve to her restless soul. The only man she truly loved. And his unequivocal loving support through thick and thin was what sustained her throughout everything.
In closing I would like to share with you one of the gifts she gave my husband. It is a book of words that Shakespeare used and coined. It has sections to flip over and create in insulting description of a person, some very cheeky, but she always enjoyed when I brought with me his latest greeting to her and I am sure she’d get a kick out of it now. From Julius Caesar:
“And whether we shall meet again I know not.
Therefore our everlasting farewell take:
Forever, and forever, farewell, thou Cassius!
If we do meet again, why, we shall smile; If not, why then this parting was well made.”