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Obituaries: Clarence ‘Elk’ Graef


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Mr. Clarence W. Graef, 94, died on Sunday, August 7, 2011 in Glen Ridge.

Born in Newark, he lived his adult life in Verona and North Caldwell. A scholar-athlete, he graduated from Irvington High, Class of 1934. He was a mainstay, lefty pitcher on the baseball team and played both offense and defense on the football team that he captained in his senior year. Mr. Graef was the first in his family to attend college, working at night, playing two sports and graduating from Upsala College in 1940 with a BA in economics. In 1980 he was inducted into their Sports Hall of Fame.
During World War II he honorably served as a private first class in the U.S. Marine Corps aboard the USS Cape Gloucester attached to the Fifth Fleet in the East China Seas and Buckner Bay, Okinawa, Japan.

Mr. Graef was a sales engineer for Bellows-Valvair for 35 years, retiring in 1977. He was a faithful volunteer at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and as a US Swimming Official for many years. Other interests included photography, travel, reading, listening to classical music, watching Public Television, supporting humanitarian charities, conservation efforts specifically, environmental and wildlife preservation causes. He was a soft touch for his devoted English Setters – most recently Gracie, Jill and Anna.

At the core of his life was his wife of 58 years, the late Alleine Graef. He is survived by his children, Jed Graef and his wife Sunyana, and Judy Graef; his grandchildren, Kaila Graef and her husband Michael Lewis and Dana Graef; his brother Richard Graef; a niece Pam Galusha and nephews Todd and Gordon Graef.

In celebration of his life, friends are invited to visit at his daughter’s home on Saturday, August 20 from 2 to 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, 31 Evans Terminal, Hillside, NJ 07205 would be appreciated.

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