DONALD RALPH GRAHAM
Dates of service at Pt. Atkinson: 1980-1996
Donald Graham, junior keeper, arrived at Point Atkinson in September, 1980, with his wife and two young sons. He shared an alternating 12 hour shift, noon to midnight, or midnight to noon, seven days a week, with the senior keeper, Gerald Watson, changing every two weeks. By VHF radio and using specific weather recording equipment, the keepers reported the current sea, sky, wind speed and visibility conditions, every three hours, to the Victoria Agency, recording them in a daily log book. These records went to Atmospheric Services with Environment Canada on a daily basis.
The Grahams arrived from Bonilla Island light station, approx. 60 miles south of Prince Rupert. It was here that Mr. Graham met a retired tug-boat captain, Capt. L.H. Cadieux, who shared a mutual love of history. Soon after, while stationed at Point Atkinson, Donald Graham researched and wrote two volumes on the history of West Coast light keeping: "Keepers of the Light" and "Lights of the Inside Passage".
The research was based in part on records collected by Capt. L H. Cadieux. Later, Don's research encouraged him to seek official designation of Pt. Atkinson’s heritage status.
In 1994, in recognition of its crucial role in navigation and life saving for British Columbia’s maritime trade Point Atkinson was officially declared a National Historic Site. However, no financial endowment accompanied the designation. Two years later the Point Atkinson Lighthouse was fully automated and the service of the lighthouse keepers was terminated on June 30, 1996.
On February 27, 2003 Donald was presented with the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal by Senator Pat Carney.
Donald Graham died on Oct. 8, 2003