Helen Louise Grafe, age 88, of New Philadelphia, passed away Tuesday, October 16, 2018, in Community Hospice’s Truman House.
Born April 4, 1930 in Leavittsburg, she was a daughter of the late Orval W. and Thelma DePriest James. Helen graduated from Windham High School with honors, and went on to attend Massillon City Hospital School of Nursing from which she graduated and became a registered nurse. She began her career at Dover’s Union Hospital in Labor and Delivery, and went on to work in geriatric nursing until her retirement.
Helen met and fell in love with her dancing and fishing partner, Alcide D. “Al” Grafe, and the couple were married on March 1, 1952. Helen and Al celebrated fifty-eight (nearly fifty-nine) years of marriage prior to Al’s passing in 2011. Helen was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who was dearly loved by her family. She was known for her cooking and baking expertise, hosting many holiday gatherings and family get-togethers over the years. Among Helen’s favorite pastimes were fishing, reading, singing and listening to music.
Survivors include her children, Tom Grafe of Gnadenhutten, Sue (John Lehigh) Kimble of Dover, Jim (Kathy) Grafe of Massillon, Becky (Rusty) Pierce and Mary (Tim) Meiser, both of New Philadelphia; her grandchildren, Kellie (Rocky) Moore, Korie Kimble, Jason (Shelly Oswald) Pierce, Mike (Kelli DeVore) Pierce, Adam (Jamie Beamer) Meiser, Andy Meiser, Alex (Becca) Meiser, Tommy (Brooke) Grafe, Amber (Chad) Ohler, Melissa (Scott) Long, Jessica (Stephan) Hamilton, Jim (Brionna) Grafe, Joe (Lexi) Grafe and Melissa (Scott) Brediger; her thirty-one great-grandchildren – and another great-grandchild expected in April 2019; her great-great-grandson; her five step-grandchildren; and her seventeen step-great-grandchildren; her brother, Robert (Peg) James of Maryland; her sister, Ruthie Griffith of Michigan; her special sister-in-law, Billie James of North Lima; and her many nieces and nephews. Helen was very special to her large family, who she loved so much, and they loved and respected her in return.
In addition to her parents, and her beloved husband, Al, she was preceded in death by her sister, Margie James; her brother, Marvin James; her infant brother; and her very special Aunt Catherine.
The family wishes to acknowledge the staff of Community Hospice for all the professional care, kindness and love shown to Helen and the entire Grafe family – Thank You So Very Much! You are angels here on earth.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, October 20, at 1:30 p.m. in the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home & Crematory, Dover, with Pastor Brian Flood officiating. Burial will be in Dover Burial Park. Following the committal, there will be a lunch in the Toland-Herzig Monarch Center on the Boulevard in Dover. Family and friends are invited to call at the funeral home on Friday, October 19, 6 – 8 p.m. To sign an online guestbook and share a fond memory of Helen, please visit the obituaries link on the Toland-Herzig website.
The family suggests that contributions in Helen’s memory be made to Community Hospice, 716 Commercial Ave. S.W., New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663, or, to Akron Children’s Hospital, 1 Perkins Sq., Akron, Ohio 44308.