Laura Lee Planche Graber

August 26, 1933, August 31, 2017

Laura Lee Planche Graber

Laura Lee Felicine Planche Graber was born in New Orleans on August 26, 1933, the only child of doting parents Laura Mae Kohnke and August John Planche, Jr. She spoke often of her happy childhood in Covington, Louisiana, where she maintained her parents' home and visited regularly until 2015. She completed high school at Gulf Park College in Gulfport, Mississippi and then enrolled at LSU, where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She later transferred to Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University, earned a bachelor's degree in education, and began a career as an elementary teacher in the public schools of New Orleans.

            The course of Laura Lee's life changed in 1956 when she met Bill Graber, a Tulane Medical School senior. Laura Lee and Bill were married in Covington on February 1, 1958 and lived in New Orleans and Dallas while Bill continued his medical training. Laura Lee supported the couple as a teacher until the birth of their first child Vallette in 1961. His training complete, Bill and Laura Lee moved to his hometown of Beaumont, Texas in 1962. There the family grew with the arrival of sons Will in 1964 and Travis in 1968. Laura Lee made her home with Bill in Beaumont until her death on August 31, 2017.

            Laura Lee had a kind and gracious southern spirit. She loved to laugh, particularly at herself. As a devoted mother, she managed the intricacies of her children's complex schedules with an enthusiasm that confirmed her mantra: "Organization is the key to successful living." She brought these organization skills to bear when she took over her father's real estate interests in Louisiana in the 1980s and took great pride in learning the history of each parcel and keeping her books current and complete.

            In mid-life Laura Lee became an avid skier and enjoyed annual girls' trips to Colorado with her ski buddies. She also had an artistic side. She was an accomplished sculptor and life-long photographer, filling dozens of scrapbooks with images of her growing children and the places across the globe that she visited with Bill.

            It was her commitment to Bill that shaped her life most. She joined him in embracing many of his interests, learning to shoot skeet, hunt, and identify birds, all with great success. She joined him on camping trips at Village Creek, Big Bend, Snowmass Wilderness, and the Green and Yukon rivers, to name but a few. She loved attending Tulane reunions with him. As she and Bill began to spend time in San Miguel de Allende, she even tried to learn Spanish at his suggestion, but for once without much success.

            Laura Lee was a beautiful, vivacious, and affable lady, mother, and wife. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

            Laura Lee is predeceased by her parents Laura Mae and August Planche, Jr. She is survived by her husband of 59 years William James Graber, III of Beaumont; her three children and their spouses, Vallette Graber Windham and Russell Windham of Houston, William J. Graber, IV and Shannon Jenson Graber of The Woodlands, and Fred Travis Graber and Iris Steinebrunner of Dresden, Germany; and seven grandchildren, August Windham and Isabel Windham of Houston, Madelaine Graber, William J. Graber, V, Abigail Graber, and Andrew Graber of The Woodlands, and Alena Graber of Dresden.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, September 15 at First United Methodist Church, 701 Calder Avenue, Beaumont, Texas 77701. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held at the church. Graveside services will be held at noon the following day, Saturday, September 16 at Prairie Lea Cemetery, 508 S. Jackson Street, Brenham, Texas 77833, under the direction of Broussard's, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont, Texas 77701, 409-832-1621.

Funeral Service
First United Methodist Church - Beaumont
701 Calder Beaumont, TX 77701
Friday, September 15, 2017
11:00 a.m.

Comments (7)

  • Joyce Blain

    26 September 2017 at 22:56 | #

    Dr. Graber and family,

    Your wife and mother is so dear to me. I was her massage therapist and got to know, and love, her. Her wisdom stays with me, and her infectious smile is in my heart for always. My prayers to you.

    reply

  • Patricia and Pierre Robert

    17 September 2017 at 20:35 | #

    Yo Bill and family..Our hearts are broken to hear of Laura Lees death..Our families go back when we all came to practice in Beaumont..at the same time...We had many good tiimes together. We will never forget doing parties and just being together. To Bill..We will always be your friend and you can call on us..To Will.We are sorry we have lost touch with you and hope to see you soon.. Mich love to all I will never forget my friend Laura Lee..She was a lovely lady,,

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  • Caroline Rodehorst Smith

    17 September 2017 at 07:34 | #

    We are so saddened to hear of your loss. Michael and I talk about our most recent visit with Dr Graber and Lauralee often. She was a truly beautiful lady. You our in our thoughts and prayers.
    Caroline & Michael Smith

    reply

  • Molly Baker

    15 September 2017 at 00:19 | #

    Dr Graber and family, I am so sad to learn of your loss of Laura Lee. I pray for each of you, for God's peace and understanding, now and in the days ahead. She was such a sweetheart and all who knew and loved her will miss her terribly.

    reply

  • MARSHA ELMORE

    13 September 2017 at 23:43 | #

    BILL, VALLETT, RUSSEL, ISABELLE, I AM STILL IN SHOCK ABOUT LAURA LEE.....MY FAMILY AND BILL'S FAMILY GOES BACK TO THE 50'S ....WE LIVED ONE BLOCK APART AND WERE GOOD GOOD FRIENDS.....AND THEN THE ULTIMATE HONOR AT WALDEMAR WAS ISABELLE'S SELECTION OF WALDEMAR'S IDEAL GIRL AWARD....SO YOU ALL ARE VERY S PECIAL FOR ALL OF US.....IS THERE A PLACE FOR ME TO CONTRIBUTE TO LAURA LEE'S MEMORY? LOVE TO YOU ALL, MARSHA AND WALDEMAR

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  • Buddy and Sylvia Seale

    13 September 2017 at 02:03 | #

    Our love to all the family. You are in our prayers

    reply

  • Patty Buxton Burmeister

    13 September 2017 at 01:53 | #

    Bill and family, I am terribly saddened to read of Laurie Lee's death. I will keep your family in my prayers. She was such a dear and sweet lady.

    reply

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