Argus Observer (Ontario, Malheur County, Oregon)
Thursday, March 26, 2009, pA6
Dean Irvin Grafft, 88, Templeton, Calif., formerly of Payette and Fruitland, passed away Sunday, March 15, 2009 in Templeton, Calif. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 28, 2009, at Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, Payette, with Pastor Greg Grafft officiating. Interment will follow at Riverside Cemetery, Payette. Services are under the direction of Shaffer-Jensen Memory chapel, Payette.
Dean was born Jan. 30, 1921, in Braddyville, Iowa. He was one of nine children born to Earl and Nellie Grafft and a farming lifestyle in southwest Iowa. After finishing school and working on farms around the country, Dean joined the Army at the beginning of WWII and served throughout the war years before he was honorably discharged in 1946.
During his Army years, he met his buddy's sister, Ruby Frazier, of Kamiah, Idaho. After a typical wartime romance, mostly by mail, they were married July 17, 1944. It was a wonderful match, Ruby's calm, fun-loving spirit balancing Dean's personal discipline and single-minded pursuit of his goals. After Dean's discharge and a year in Iowa, they moved to Baker, Ore., where Dean found work as a carpenter.
Four chuildren were born during these years, Gregg Grafft (Jane), of Boise, Marilyn Tackitt (Terry) of Templeton, Calif., Phi Grafft (Jody) of Springfield, Mo., and Paula Weise (Glen), of St. Louis, Mo.
After eight years of carpentry in Baker, Dean pulled up stakes to attend Northwest Christian College in Eugene. Upon graduation, he became pastor of the Mountain Home Christian Church for six years. In 1966, the family moved to the Midwest where Dean served as Pastor to Fulton Christian Church and Millersberg Christian Church while he pursued a master's degree in social work at the University of Missouri.
Upon graduation from MU, Dean accepted a position as Oneida County director of social services in Rhinelander, Wis. Following four rewarding years in Rhinelander, he and Ruby fulfilled a long standing dream of returning to the West when he accepted a position with social services in Fruitland in 1974. He worked in probation and parole, family counseling and mental health services until his retirement in 1983. He later accepted a part-time position as pastor of St. John's Congregational Church (Note - St. John's United Church of Christ) in Payette, where he served for the next four years.
Dean loved being part of the Lions Club and Song Fellows during their 20 years in Payette and served in many capacities including president. He and Ruby together treasured many loving ties through church, work and family. One of their highly anticipated yearly events was a group visit by their far-flung children and their families, who gathered at their "farm" every summer for a family reunion. One singularly memorable experience occurred in the early 80s when Dean and Ruby took a six-week trip to Europe, about which they reminisced regularly and recounted often to anyone who was interested. Dean and Ruby celebrated 50 years of marriage with 200 admiring friends and family in 1994 and continued their life together in Payette until Ruby's passing six months later.
In late 1996, the Grafft family was once again blessed by wedlock when Dean married Helen Rader, an energetic woman who made her mark on his life and on the Grafft family until her death in 2005.
Declining in health, Dean accepted an invitation to live with his daughter and son-in-law, Marilyn and Terry Tackitt. He basked in their loving care for four years until age and illness took his life.
He is survived by two sisters, four children, 17 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites contributions to New Plymouth Congregational Church or the Payette Lions Club, c/o Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, P.O. Box 730, Payette, ID 83661.