Joseph R. Grathwohl / 1928-2009

Published 9:26am Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Joseph R. Grathwohl
Joseph R. Grathwohl

Joseph R. Grathwohl, 81, of Totomee Lane in Niles, died on Monday, July 20, 2009, at 1:30 p.m. at Lakeland Community Hospital in Niles, following an extended illness.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 24, at Saint Mary Catholic Church, Niles, with the Rev. David Otto, pastor, and the Rev. William T. Melody, C.S.C. of Notre Dame, Ind. officiating.

Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Niles.

Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 23, at Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles, with the recitation of The Rosary at 7:30 p.m.

He was born on Feb. 2, 1928, in Niles to Marshall and Eva (Rayfse) Grathwohl. He was a lifetime resident of Niles.

He attended Central Michigan University.

He was a veteran of the Korean War, having served in the United States Army from 1949-1952.

In 1952, he took over Grathwohl Plumbing and Heating from his father and retired in 1983.
He owned and operated Garden City Cleaners from 1938 to 2004.

He was a member of Saint Mary Catholic Church, in Niles, where he served on the Saint Mary’s School Board and Saint Mary’s Cemetery Board.

Grathwohl was a member of the Knights of Columbus No. 708 in Niles.
He was also on the City of Niles Zoning Board of Appeals and Niles City Community Development Corporation.

He was a 40-year member of the Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club, where he took part in a Belize trip and an India trip for polio prevention. He was a Paul Harris Fellow.

He was also a donor for the American Red Cross.

On July 11, 1953, in Saint John’s, he married the former Mary Lou Judd, who survives. They enjoyed traveling and had visited 38 countries.

Additional surviving family includes their children, Tom Grathwohl of Atlanta, Ga., Gary Grathwohl of Niles and Kent Grathwohl of Troy; grandsons, Michael, Nathan and Evan Grathwohl and David and Nathan Edge; sisters, Mary Ann Drury of Traverse City and Betty VanDerbeck of Niles; brothers, the Rev. John R. Grathwohl of Traverse City and Victor (Bette) Grathwohl of Niles.

He was preceded in death by his son, Jimmy, who died on Aug. 6, 1962 and a sister, Margaret Bohner.

Memorial contributions may be made to Saint Mary Catholic Church, or Berrien County Cancer Service, 7301 Red Arrow Highway, Stevensville, MI 49127.

Arrangements were by Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles.

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