Obituaries » Alice E DeGraff
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November 3, 1936 - February 12, 2019
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Alice Elaine DeGraff passed away peacefully February 12th, 2019 surrounded by her family in Issaquah, Washington. She is survived by:
Her husband Thomas DeGraff
Daughter Debra DeGraff
Daughter Lynn Kenyon and her husband Scott
Son Evert DeGraff and his wife Joy
Her three beautiful grandchildren, Amber, Zachery and Alix
Sister Diane and her husband Larry
Alice was born November 3rd, 1936 in Wibaux, Montana to Leo and Ann Ponke. Many stories were told of growing up on the farm and the trouble she would get in. The one that sticks out is getting the chickens drunk on homemade beer and they didn’t lay eggs for over a week. The family then moved to Renton Washington, where Alice graduated from Renton High School and then onto the University of Washington. She wanted to go into the Engineering Program, but they did not allow women in at that time.
She then met the love of her life, Thomas DeGraff, at drafting school for the Boeing Company in Renton, Washington. He would get distracted by her “long legs and high heels”. They were married November 16th, 1957 and were married for over 61 years. An accomplishment not many couples are able to achieve.
Alice worked with her husband and partners to establish a company named International Homes of Cedar. While Alice was referred to as the “Office Manager”, she was always so much more. She was a true working woman, but made sure her home, and her family, were always cared for. She taught her kids to be independent and strong like she was. She made sure that others had that choice, sitting on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood during the late 70’s.
When not working, or caring for her family, Alice loved to travel the world. Her and Tom went to countless countries, experiencing many different cultures. Another great story is when they went to the Philippines on a boat trip to some of the outlying islands. The local children loved her blond hair and would sneak up behind her and try to touch it.
She retired in 1999 and built their dream home in the small town of Naalehu on the Big Island of Hawaii. Here she made so many new friends and embraced the Hawaiian culture. She participated in Whale Watching for the State of Hawaii, tried to learn Hula Dancing, participated in Lei making, but landed on her favorite passion, quilt making. Being a perfectionist, she probably undid as many stiches as she made. This quilting family she had was a highlight of her life, and her beautiful quilts exhibit that love.
Alice came back to the mainland in 2016 due to health reasons. Mom still loved to travel and was able to take multiple road trips with family. She wanted to see as many National Parks as possible and was able to visit many including Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite, The Badlands and Death Valley. She was the co-pilot learning how to navigate with all the new technology.
Now you can see all the rest Mom. We all love you so much.
E hiamoe me ka maluhia – “Sleep in Peace”