By HDN Staff
CHESTER Eldon John Graff, 85, died Sept. 8, 2000 at a Chester hospital.
Vigil prayer services were Sunday evening and funeral Mass was today at 11 a.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chester. Burial was to follow at the Chester Cemetery.
Graff was born Jan. 27, 1915 in Kellogg, Minn. to George and Hattie (Lange) Graff. He grew up in Minnesota and received his formal education at School District #93 in Wytopa Township. At 14, he quit school to work for area farmers.
Graff moved to Montana in 1937 to work on a north Joplin farm for his uncle, Francis VanDessel.
n Nov. 25, 1939, he married Margaret Elizabeth Marking at the Immaculate Conception Church in Kellogg. They returned to Montana and continued farming. They acquired their own place north of Chester in 1940. They retired from farming in 1990, but remained at the home on the farm until buying a home in Chester and moving into town in 1996.
Graff was baptized and confirmed Catholic and was an active member of St. Mary's Catholic Church and Knights of Columbus in Chester. He participated in the cursillo movement for many years.
Graff was a long-time member of Farmer's Union and served on the board of the Federal Land Bank for 12 years. He also volunteered as a Boy Scout and 4-H leader and served as a hunter safety instructor for 25 years.
Graff enjoyed big game hunting, camping, boating, bowling and playing cards, especially pinochle and 500. He also enjoyed gardening and occasional cooking. He took many memorable trips and cruises with his wife, but their favorite travels were to those to visit family and close friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; infant son, Richie; brother, Walter Graff; and sisters, Margaret Cole, Mary Bronk, and Frances Graff.
Survivors include his wife, Margaret of Chester; sons, Gerry Graff of Duvall, Wash., Don Graff of Belgrade, and Tom Graff of Chester; daughters, Joanne Standiford of Chester, Marilyn Collins of Bozeman, Jean May of Sunset House, Alberta, Patti Shepherd of Arlington, Texas, Mary Gibbons of Big Sandy, Betty Mace of Kalispell, Teresa Wehr of Billings and Janice Fauque of Cut Bank; brothers, Art and Joe Graff of Kellogg, Minn. and George Graff of Yuma, Ariz.; sisters, Rita Reisdorf of St. Charles, Minn. and Lorraine Anderson of Dodge City, Kan.; 30 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; several nephews and nieces.
Memorials are suggested the St. Mary's Church Handicap-Lift Fund.
Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel of Chester.