'Fixer Upper' episode is bittersweet for Waco veteran whose wife dies before show airs

In a switch from its regular format, HGTV's Fixer Upper featured former Baylor University quarterback Robert Griffin III helping Chip and Joanna Gaines refurbish the Waco home of Vietnam veteran Bill Graham and his wife Sherry.

But it was a bittersweet episode for Bill Graham.

His wife of 45 years didn't live long enough to see the airing of Tuesday's episode. Sherry Graham was 69 when she died Oct. 31. However, she did get to see her house's makeover.

"If you noticed she wasn't getting around real well then," Bill Graham told Waco station KWTX-TV this week.

Graham told the station that doctors had believed she was cancer-free, but subsequent tests revealed the cancer had returned. He said the doctor "gave her six months and she lasted two.

"When she got out of the hospital for the last time, she said 'Don't ever take me back, right here is where I want to be' ", Graham told KWTX.

"And that's where she died. Right there. Right next to my bed."

The show is scheduled to air again at 6 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Tuesday on HGTV.

The episode's emotional unveil brought tears to the eyes of Sherry Graham, who marveled at her home's updated look and room expansions. She was too ill during the renovation to see the transformation but arrived in a wheelchair for the reveal.

"She was actually in St. Catherine's in rehab, but they let her out long enough to do the reveal.
When she saw the house for the first time, every room she went in she was saying 'Oh my gosh!'"
"It meant everything to her," Graham said told KWTX.

According to the station, Griffin dropped by a Waco hospital for a surprise visit.

Griffin, the Cleveland Browns quarterback who is the son of two Army sergeants, and his Family of 3 foundation teamed up with the Gaines' upon learning of Graham's four decades of military service.

"Families like the Grahams, they pay the ultimate sacrifice for this country," Griffin said. "And I feel like those are the people that we need to be helping more and more."

In a video on the Family of 3 Foundation website, Graham was emotional when finding out he and his wife would receive help.

"When I found out that RG3 and the Family of 3 foundation was going to do this, it was a total shock to me that I could be that lucky," Graham said. "Things like this just don't happen to people very often."

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