Feb. 24, 1939-Jan. 2, 2011
Walter H. Graf, 71, of rural Audubon, died Sunday, January 2, 2011 at his home, surrounded by family and under the care of hospice of the Red River Valley.
Walter was born the son of Otto and Hulda (Grueneich) Graf on February 24, 1939, in Napoleon, N.D. He attended school in Napoleon and completed high school at Cleveland, N.D., where he enjoyed playing on the basketball team. He served in the National Guard at both Valley City and Fargo, where he was honorably discharged after six years of service. He began working for contractors as an electrical lineman, and eventually went to work for Cass County Electric in Kindred, N.D., as a lineman.
Walter was united in marriage to Elaine Jordheim on May 25, 1963 at Kindred Lutheran Church in Kindred. Later they moved to Palm Springs, Calif., where Walter worked for Southern California Edison Company and then worked for the City of Anaheim Power Company. After two years in California, they moved to Sitka, Alaska, and shortly after, on to Anchorage.
Walter worked as a lineman for Chugach Electric for 11 years, before moving to rural Audubon to pursue his dream of farming. He worked for the City of Detroit Lakes as an electrical lineman until retiring in 1999. During his retirement years he continued to work on his hobby farm, and also worked for Donovan Construction Company in the summer months until his health forced him to fully retire. He served one term on the Becker County Fair Board.
Walter was not one who could sit still for very long. He was always finding something to do, whether it was driving around on his John Deere tractor, tending to his many animals he had throughout the years, or attending auctions to gather treasures.
Walter enjoyed hunting and fishing during his years in Alaska, and spending time with his family teaching things such as how to ride a horse, how to milk a cow or how to keep an eye out for invisible electric fences.
Surviving Walter are his wife, Elaine Graf of rural Audubon; daughter, Jeanne (Jeff) Soyring of Detroit Lakes; son, Joel Graf (Angela Juven) of Embden, N.D.; five grandchildren; six great grandchildren; his mother, Hulda Graf of Fargo; two brothers, Larry (Betty) Graf of Mapleton, N.D., and Gerald (Kathy) Graf of Ramona, Calif.; five sisters, Marcella Haman of Bismarck, N.D., Esther Hughes of Des Moines, Wash., Delores (Chuck) Deery of Grand Forks, N.D., Phyllis (John) Gluth of Temecula, Calif., and Gladys Graf of Anchorage; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding Walter in death were his father; two brothers, Albert and Wilbert Graf; and a brother-in-law, Gus Haman.
Walter was loved by many for his quiet, kind nature and will truly be missed.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, with a 6 p.m. prayer service, at West-Kjos Funeral Home, Detroit Lakes.
Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8 at Cormorant Lutheran Church, rural Lake Park.
Those wanting to share memories and condolences may use the messages of sympathy section at www.westkjos.com.