On Sunday, September 9, 2012, Helen L. Graf passed away peacefully at Spring Arbor Residential Assisted Living in Hendersonville, North Carolina, at the age of eighty-nine.
Helen, daughter of the late Earl Manly and Elizabeth Hertlein Cook, was born on June 14, 1923, on the family farm in Dickinson County, Kansas. She was one of four children. Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Graf; son, Rodney Graf; daughter-in-law, Nancy Graf; and brother, Wayne Cook.
Surviving members of her family include one daughter, Becky G. McCrary, and her husband Tom of Hendersonville, North Carolina; one son, Jerry D. Graf, of Iola, Wisconsin; one daughter-in-law, Judy C. Graf, of Bozeman, Montana; and one foster son, Bob Hethcoat, and wife Lesa of Blue Springs, Missouri. She had one sister, Elaine Fooshee, of Wichita, Kansas, and one brother, Lynn Cook, of Apache Junction, Arizona. She was the loving grandmother to Matt Graf and his wife Amy, Christy Phillips and her husband Dustin, Katie McCrary, Adam McCrary and his wife Lauren. She also treasured her great grandchildren: Zeke, Zach, Zaden, Zephaniah, and Allison. Her ninety-seven-year-old Aunt Mildred Koclanes of Emporia, Kansas, also survives Helen.
Helen graduated from Hope High School in 1941 and continued her education at Kansas State University. She taught elementary school in Gorham County, Kansas. She married Charles Graf on June 14, 1946, and they established their first home in McPherson, Kansas.
Helen dedicated her life to helping others through her work with both children and adults in the United Methodist Church. For over twenty-five years she served as a Christian Education Director, Diaconal Minister, Stephen Minister, Preschool Director, and Youth Director. She proudly served in the Kansas West and Florida Conferences of the United Methodist Church.
Moments Helen treasured most were when she was surrounded by the joys and fellowship of family and friends. Remembered for her great strength of gentle guidance, sweet spirit, and calming influence, Helen remains in the hearts of those who love her. She enjoyed the gift of family and friends immensely and leaves behind that loving spirit in the lives of all she touched.
A celebration-of-life, memorial service will be held at a later date in McPherson, Kansas.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that memorial donations be made to Four Seasons Compassion for Life, 571 South Allen Road, Flat Rock, North Carolina 28731.