Saturday, January 30, 2016


I attended a funeral Mass today for George S. Graff.  I was there in support his daughter Maureen Jennings (and because attendance at church is overdue for this former alter boy).
This celebration of a man’s life at the Church of the Annunziata in Ladue was remarkable. I will not do it justice, but I do want to share some thoughts.    

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they will be filled.

The homily, by Monsignor John Leykam, wove together the Beatitudes (Matthew 1-12) gospel with a favorite poem and the lifetime of George S. Graff. The Rudyard Kipling poem IF was juxtaposed artfully with the gospel and the man’s life.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you….

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch….

Yours is the Earth and everything in it,
And – which is more - you’ll be a man, my son!

I consider myself something of a spiritual person, albeit something short of a devout practicing Catholic. This event touched me – not only for the brief moment in which I was able to whisper to Maureen “Daddy’s little girl” which I knew had to be the truth --- And it was verified in her smile in the aisle as she greeted me before the Mass. The love of the family filled that place of worship. George S. Graff was truly blessed and leaves a legacy for generations to come. The live cello rendition by Great Grandchild Lorenzo DeMichelle was a bonus. The sweet somber sounds of the string instrument filled the sacristy, the alter, and the pews.

The priest more than hinted that many of the details of this funeral service were prescribed by the deceased himself. Clearly, he was a man who could lead a company and yet keep a humbleness about him. In my view, funerals are for the living and an inspiration to carry out our own lives as best we can with the time we have. Thanks George.


Graff, George S. fortified with the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church on Sunday, January 24, 2016. Beloved husband of the late Mary Rita Graff and Marjory Kassabaum Graff; dear father of Mary Ann (Robert) Gorlin, George S. (Rosalie) Graff, Jr., James R. (Laurie) Graff, Maureen (Rick) Jennings and the late Thomas G. (Mary Jo) Graff, Sr.; dear grandfather of 12, and great grandfather of 13; our dear step-father, uncle, cousin and friend to many. George was born on March 16, 1917 in New York City. While in college studying Aeronautical Engineering at The University of Detroit he met his wife Mary Rita Shaughnessy. They married and moved to St. Louis where he worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft. For the next 40 years he developed military aircraft such as the XFD-1 Phantom, the F15 Eagle, and the F18-A Hornet and eventually served as president of McDonnell Aircraft Company from 1971 until his retirement in 1982. When he wasn't shooting for the stars, he could be found on the golf course shooting for par. Services: The Funeral Mass was held at the Church of the Annunziata on Saturday, January 30, 2016. En tombment was in Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Memorials to a charity of one's choice appreciated. Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch from Jan. 27 to Jan. 31, 2016