Edwin "Eddie" Graf, 86, of Great Bend, died Aug. 19 at St. John’s of Victoria, in Victoria. He was born Jan. 16, 1924, at Ness City, the 11th of 12 children of Joseph and Rosa (Pfannenstiel) Graf. He wasa lifelong resident of central and western Kansas. Eddie, as he was known, had eight brothers and three sisters and was the last surviving sibling. Growing up in rural Ness County, he and his family were engaged in farming. He enjoyed sports as a youth, playing basketball and baseball in high school, and followed sports his entire life. On Aug. 27, 1946, he married Armella "Millie" Stegman at Ness City. They had six children and lived most of their married life in Great Bend. She died Oct. 8, 1980. In Great Bend, Eddie worked 15 years for Barton County and then at Great Bend Co-op, where he stayed for more than 20 years, retiring in 1987. All four of Eddie’s sons also worked at the co-op for a time in their youth. On Nov. 19, 1994, he married Jewell Wood at Great Bend.
Eddie was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, his wife Millie and one daughter, Norma Bogart, who died Feb. 10, 2010. Survivors include his wife, Jewell, of Larned; one daughter, Janice Burkhead and husband Lee, Kansas City, Mo.; four sons, Jim Graf and wife Kathy (Klepper) of Hutchinson, Mike Graf and wife Robbie (Weatherbee) of Hays, Tom Graf and wife Shyrlene (Donavan) of Fort Collins, Colo., and David Graf of Overland Park; a son-in-law, Steve Bogart of Lansing; nine grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mr. Graf was a member of the Prince of Peace Parish at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus Council No. 862, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie No. 646, all of Great Bend. Eddie enjoyed numerous hobbies throughout his life, including bowling, polka dancing and playing cards, dominoes and billiards. Most of all, Eddie loved God and his family, considering his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren the most special joys of his life. He will be dearly missed, but his memory is a lasting comfort to his loved ones.
A vigil service with Knights of Columbus Rosary will be at 7 p.m. today at Bryant Funeral Home, Great Bend. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Great Bend, with Father Reginald A. Urban officiant. Interment will be at the Great Bend Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1 to 9 p.m. today at the funeral home. Memorial donations are suggested to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or to the International Myeloma Foundation, in care of the funeral home. Condolences may be sent and notice viewed at www.bryantfh.net.