Joseph Nicholas Graff, age 90, passed away on the feast of All Soul’s Day, November 2, 2021. He was born in Akron, Iowa and spent his childhood years on a farm in Linn Grove, Iowa. He graduated from Linn Grove High School in 1949. Joe proudly served in the Navy during the Korean War from 1950 to 1954, eventually rising to the rank of Lt. JG. Joe met Patricia Lenz in 1949 and they were married on July 19, 1954 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sioux Rapids. They lived in Omaha while Joe attended Creighton University, then moved to Spencer where he lived the next 60 years and always called home.
Joe worked for 35 years in the Spencer Community School system. He was a math and physics teacher for 8 years, assistant superintendent for 13 years and superintendent for 14 years. Joe also attended school during the summers and took a one-year sabbatical during which time he achieved his Masters and Specialists degrees.
Joe spent many years in service to education and the community of Spencer. He was an original board member of Iowa Lakes Community College. He served on several committees at Sacred Heart Church and was on the school boards of Sacred Heart School and what was the Spencer School of Business. He was a member and past president of the Lions Club and was a Spencer City Council member for 5 years.
Joe had a strong faith and was a longtime member of Sacred Heart Church. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, Notre Dame football and playing cards. Most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family. In 2018 Joe moved to West Des Moines to be closer to his children. He passed away at home, surrounded by family, after a short battle with lymphoma.
Joe was preceded in death by Patricia, his wife of 58 years; his parents, Peter and Anna Graff; his brothers, Al, Peter and Leo; his sister, Marie Harris; his grandson, Lucas Westlund and his granddaughter, Abby Clingan. Left to cherish his memory are his four daughters, Anne Graff, Cheryl Westlund (Jeff), Mary Kay Clingan (Tom), Joan Maley (Walt), son-in-law, Terry Brown, nine grandchildren, four great grandchildren and his sister, Kay Burns (Darel).