John George ‘Jack’ Grafford

HANCOCK – John George “Jack” Grafford, 92, of Prospect Street in Hancock, passed away at the Omega House in Houghton, on Wednesday morning, July 30, 2014.

He was born on October 31, 1921 in Niles, Michigan to the late William F. “Bill” and Freda M. (Martinsen) Grafford. He graduated from Niles High School in 1939. During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. As a flight crew chief on B-24 bombers, he flew numerous missions as a tail gunner. After being shot down, he returned to active service to our country.

He was married to Aurore Esther Chasse on July 9, 1946. The couple celebrated their 54th anniversary before she preceded him in death on October 4, 2000.

Jack retired on November 1, 1983 after 31 years with Rowe International of Grand Rapids where he was their chief process engineer.

He was a member of the Society of Plastics Engineering, serving a term as president; Knights of Columbus member and usher of St. Therese Catholic Church in Wayland; a former member of the Wayland School Board; was a founding member of the Dorr Parks and Recreation Organization; and member of the Rowe (AMI) Golf league. He danced the jitterbug with his wife, often clearing the dance floor. Jack also sang tenor in a barber shop quartet, the Four Flaggers, for nearly 15 years.

Besides his wife and parents, he was also preceded in death by his son, Robert John Grafford; brothers, Billy and Eugene; a sister, Jackie; and loving grandparents, Matilda and John Martinsen.

He is survived by a son, James Walter (Carol) Grafford of Hancock; daughters, Barbara Jeanne (Jim) Shroeger of Traverse City and Debra Anne (Marty) Merillat of Virginia Beach, Virginia; a brother, Dan; a sister, Joanne; grandchildren, Darren and Kristin Shroeger, Nicholas and Olivia Merillat, Jennifer (Nathan) Olson, Kate (Patrick) Brogan; great-grandchildren, Riley Olson and Charlie and Mac John Brogan; many nieces and nephews; and his best friend since childhood, Dick Wurz of Niles.

Cremation has taken place.

Veterans memorial honors and interment will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 9, 2014 in the Dorr Cemetery with American Legion Post 127 conducting the services.

A time of fellowship with a lunch will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Dorr American Legion Post Hall following the cemetery services.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be directed to the Omega House (Hospice), 2211 Maureen Lane, Houghton, MI 49931.

The O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home in Hancock is assisting with the arrangements. Go to to leave online condolences.