Brookside Funeral Home & Crematory

Leona Marie Graf, age 82, passed away quietly and peacefully at home on July 13, 2013. She was surrounded by family members, all of whom cherished her deeply.

Leona was born in Dustin, Oklahoma on June 4, 1931 to Edgar and Lacy (Eslick) Maggard. Four years later she, her parents and siblings left the Midwest with several members of their extended family, and relocated to Selah. Her mother died tragically in 1938 from complications during childbirth. Along with her older sister Faye, Leona helped raise her younger siblings Jerry and Bud, and half-sister Carol while their father was working to support the family. This would only be the beginning of Leona’s many years as a compassionate and loving caretaker. When Leona was 15, Edgar remarried, and Elsie Maggard became her step-mother, adding two step-brothers, Larry and Roger, to the family.

Leona attended Selah High School, and while working at the local theater as a ticket taker, she was swept off her feet by moviegoer, Karl Graf. The couple married on September 9, 1949. They began their adventure in a tiny one-bedroom house that lacked indoor plumbing, where Leona learned how to cook on a wood burning stove. With a toddler and baby twins in the home, Karl and Leona realized their need for more space. Their fathers helped them add a second bedroom, bathroom and kitchen for the expanding family. It was in this house that they brought home five of their six children. In 1960, Karl made good on his promise to build a bigger home for their growing family -- just in time for baby number six.

Leona’s days were filled with caring for her busy family -- her afternoons spent in various bleachers around the valley as her kids’ number one fan, never missing a game. During those years, she joined a local service group dear to her heart, Amity Club, to which she belonged for the remainder of her life. In what little free time she had, Leona loved to sew, her creations adorning her family members for many years.

Her family continued to blossom as her children married and had kids of their own. She lived for family and watching it grow, stepping into her role as grandmother with natural ease (each of her sixteen grandchildren believed he/she was the favorite).

Leona will be missed dearly by her family. She is survived by her husband Karl G. Graf, Jr.; son Karl III (Karen) of Fountainville, PA, son Dale (Nancy) of Selah, daughter Gayle (Steve) Downey of Selah, son Dick (Kim) of Selah, daughter Robin (Mike) Meiners of Bend, OR, son Ben (Kiki) of Selah; grandchildren Jeremy (Amy), Amy (Josh), Mark, Sonny (Whitney), Brett, Lacie (Jeremy), Bryan, Meggie (Chase), Anna, Charlie Ann (Nate), Maria, Lexie, Christine, Mary Michael, and Scotty; step-grandchildren Ben and Tim; great-grandchildren Kristopher and Gemma; step-great-grandchildren Rhiley and Emma; brother Jerry Maggard, half-sister Carol Simonson and step-brothers Larry (Marge) Carroll and Roger (Janet) Carroll; brothers- and sisters-in-law Robert (Jean) Graf, Ben (Martha) Graf, Patricia (Robert) Ruyle; special cousin Ruby May; numerous nephews, nieces, cousins and friends; and forever loyal poodle, Teddy.

Preceding Leona in death were her parents; her beloved grandson Kris Peck; sister Faye Robinson and brother Bud Maggard.

An extra special thank you to her daughter Gayle, who provided a loving home and tender care for the last six years. A warm thank you to Leona’s caregivers and to Hospice for their assistance in making her as comfortable as possible in recent days.

The world will shine a little less bright without our favorite person in it. We love and miss you Mom/Grandma!

Viewing will be Wednesday, July 17, 2013, noon until 6:00 p.m. at Brookside Funeral Home & Crematory, 500 W. Prospect, Moxee, WA. A service to celebrate Leona’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at The Seasons, 101 N. Naches Ave., Yakima. A private family burial will be held at Terrace Heights Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to Alzheimer’s Research, c/o Brookside Funeral Home, PO Box 9907, Yakima, WA 98909.

Arrangements by Brookside Funeral Home & Crematory.