Gary L. Graff, a resident of Alameda, passed away peacefully at his home on March 7th, 2023, with his loving family at his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, Otto and Carlyn Graff, and by his wonderful wife of 37 years, Linda Graff. He leaves behind his three sons, Dan(Courtney), Tim(Ada), and Rob(Semret), and his four beautiful grandchildren, Kendall, Brady, Chase, and Delina. In addition, he leaves behind his brother and best friend, Jim Graff of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and countless other friends and relatives around the country.
Gary was born in the northwest Iowa town of Spirit Lake, Iowa, on August 15, 1943. He spent his younger years in nearby Milford, where he attended grade school and high school. Milford is in the Iowa Great Lakes summer resort area and Gary enjoyed the wonderful life of small town Iowa while growing up. He went to college at the University of Iowa and graduated from Law School there in 1969. Following graduation, Gary moved to the Bay Area and accepted a position as the staff attorney in the Counsel’s Office for the U.S. Customs Service in San Francisco. It was the beginning of a fulfilling career that involved a number of interesting cases, which took him on business all over the country and beyond. After he retired as the Chief San Francisco attorney for Customs in 2005, Gary accepted a position with George R. Tuttle law firm in San Francisco, handling Customs and International matters. He retired from this second legal career in 2019.
Gary had many interests, but his favorite activities included all sports (Go Hawkeyes), politics, history, travel, reading, art, bike riding, family genealogy, and spending treasured time with his
family. Baseball was his first love, both playing it as a boy in Iowa and then coaching in the Alameda Little League program. He looked forward to his annual trips to Iowa in the fall with the California family to visit his brother Jim and enjoy a Hawkeye football game and a family style dinner at the Amana Colonies, events that turned into Graff reunions. He appreciated the separate interests and pursuits of his sons and their spouses, and like all grandpas, enjoyed following the activities and achievements of his grandchildren. He had a special interest and connection with the history, art, architecture and culture of Europe, and in recent years, he and family mates made extended annual trips to explore the wonderful museums, cathedrals, historic old towns and beautiful sites in nearly every European country. Gary thoroughly enjoyed his life and wonderful friends and neighbors in Alameda, but also the
energy of San Francisco, where he worked, played and enjoyed lunchtime banter with friends in his favorite hangouts for nearly 50 years. He loved his family, treasured his friends, found
humor in many things, never lost his Iowa bearings, and he thanks everyone who graced and enriched his wonderful life.
Family and friends are invited to celebrate Gary's life on Thursday, March 23rd at Greer Family Mortuary and Cremation Services. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. with the celebration of life at 6:00 p.m. To watch the live stream of the celebration of life, click on the link below:
The Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, March 24th at St. Joseph's Basilica at 11:300 a.m. Reception immediately following at Graff house: 2105 San Jose Ave, Alameda. All are welcome.
Gary will be laid to rest on Monday, March 28th at St. Mary Cemetery at 11:00 a.m.
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