Town Crier: Feeling connected to someone never met

MONTCLARION: Sept. 12, 2017

Have you ever felt a connection to someone you’ve never met? This is the story of Lloyd Richard Graham-Donaldson, an Oakland native, an avid horseman and — according to his neighbor — a faithful reader of The Montclarion.

“Every Saturday, I would take the paper to him and visit,” Jennifer Miller told me in a recent email. “Almost immediately, he would say ‘Anything new with Ginny?’” Then Jennifer would dutifully fill Lloyd in on what I’d written that week with an invitation to read it for himself.

Sadly, Lloyd died Aug. 18, before I ever got to know him. I wish we could have met at least once, to chat about the village he loved. Imagine the changes he’d seen over nine-plus decades.

After serving in the Marines in World War II, Lloyd came home to run his mother’s Miss Graham’s Riding Academy in the Oakland hills. He retired some 50 years later at the helm of Piedmont Stables in Redwood Canyon. He was also a longtime member of the Frontier Boys and Metropolitan Horseman’s Association.

At the end of Jennifer’s email, she laments, “We lost our 96-year-old cowboy.” But with all the family and friends Lloyd left behind, perhaps it’s best to think of him tipping his hat — and riding off into the sunset.

Around town: The 1930 Montclair “storybook” library is raising money to restore some of its interior architectural charm. I’ll have more news on this soon, but library branch manager Lynne Cutler wants to start with warm LED lighting, and the Friends of Montclair Library have offered to match what the library raises.

If you’d like to help, write a check to friends of the Oakland Public Library (put Montclair historic lighting in the subject line) and bring it by the library or send to 1687 Mountain Blvd, Oakland, CA 94611, Attention: Lynne Cutler.

Nuptial news: There was love in the air at Crogan’s last month. Montclair couple David Marchman and Erin Francies held their wedding reception at the popular restaurant and bar on Aug. 12, after a private ceremony in the hills. More than 200 people celebrated with the newlyweds, including Marchman’s bandmates, who played throughout the evening. A side note: The musicians actually met at Crogan’s and go by “The Marchmen.” David plays harmonica in the classic rock band but had better things to do the night of his reception — like dance with his bride.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at


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