Nelson Paul DeGraff / April 18, 1948-Feb, 10, 2010Published 10:21am Friday, February 12, 2010
NILES – Nelson Paul DeGraff, 61, of Pokagon Highway, Dowagiac, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010, at his home surrounded by his family, after a courageous battle against cancer.
Nelson was born to the late Louis DeGraff Sr. and Lorriean (Sherwood) DeGraff on April 18, 1948, in Dowagiac.
On Nov. 8, 1969, at a ceremony in Dowagiac, he married Sandra Wallace, the woman who stole his heart and has continued to be the love of his life for more than 40 years.
Described as a hard worker and good provider, Nelson worked as a journeymen welder at Niles Steel Tank for more than 38 years.
Before Sandy and Nelson settled down to start a family, he was a stock car racer and also enjoyed working on his own car.
Working hard was not something that was new to Nelson.
He grew up working on the family farm and continued living on the family property his whole life.
Nelson loved having his hands deep in the soil he worked as a boy, and has been known for the vegetable and flower gardens he grew every year, taking time to teach his children and grandchildren just how to put them in and make them grow.
His family knew him to be strong-willed, but he was definitely a man of strong values who made sure to instill them in those who were important and loved by him
Preceding Nelson are his parents and his brother, Louis DeGraff Jr.
Nelson will be greatly missed by: his wife, Sandra DeGraff; his son, Daniel (Tracey) DeGraff Sr. of Dowagaic; and his two daughters, Dana (Steve) Glass of Edwardsburg and Debra (Jeremy) Hadl of Dowagiac.
He is also survived by: his four grandsons, Daniel Jr. and Brandon DeGraff and Zachary and Andrew Glass; his two granddaughters, Ashley Grimes and Maggie Hadl; four great-grandchildren, Aaron, Alexander and Chaz Below and Kaeden Meadows; and his two sisters, Carol (Auddie) Squier of Dowagiac and Sharon (Bruce) Lund of Fountain Hills, Ariz.
The family would like to express heartfelt thanks to the aunts and uncles and Pastor Jon Den Houter who have helped Nelson and his family during this difficult journey as well as Borgess Hospice, especially Heather, their Hospice nurse, who showed Nelson compassion and support through this difficult time.
Visitation will be Sunday, Feb. 14, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Mission Hills Memorial Chapel.
The funeral will be Monday, Feb. 15, 2010, at 11 a.m. with Pastor Jon Den Houter officiating, also at Mission Hills Memorial Chapel.
Those wishing to make memorial contributions may do so to Borgess Hospice, 348 N. Burdick St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007 and First Christian Church of Dowagiac, 121 Oak St., Dowagiac, MI 49047.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Brown Funeral Home and Cremation Services and Mission Hills Memorial Chapel.
Condolences, photos and memories may be left for the family at www.BrownFuneralHomeNiles.com.