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Ocala - Helen Houseman DeGraw passed away on September 6, 2011 at the Emeritus Assisted Living Facility of Ocala, FL after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born on January 11, 1920 in Warwick, New York to Peter and Rose Houseman and was predeceased by her sister Jennie H. Motz. Helen married her long-time sweetheart C. Frank DeGraw on December 8, 1945, three weeks after he returned from fighting in France during World War II. They were married for 56 years before his passing in February 2002 and were the parents of one beloved son, John Peter DeGraw, who died in July 1990. Helen graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York with a Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics. Her first job was as a dietitian at Babies Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. She headed the Essex County, New Jersey School System's Food Services Department for 30 years. Helen was an extraordinary cook and hostess and well known for her gracious entertaining style and lively parties. She and her husband were world travelers who visited every continent except Antarctica. Of all her travels, Helen most enjoyed cruises, especially to the Caribbean. Mr. and Mrs. DeGraw resided in Roseland, New Jersey for 30 years before moving to the On Top of the World retirement community in Ocala Florida in 1985. During her retirement Helen became an avid golfer and bridge player. She was a devoted member of Countryside Presbyterian Church, Ocala. Helen is survived by her nieces Evelyn B. Lee of Naples, FL and Florence B. Spiedel of Warwick, NY; three grand-nieces Karen A. Bohlen of Severn, MD, Karol H. Abendschein of Gainesville, FL and Gretchen L. Abendschein of Acworth, NH; one grand-nephew Kurt G. Abendschein of Hauser Lake, Idaho and one great-grand niece Margaret B. Liskey of Baltimore, MD. Mrs. DeGraw is interred with her husband Frank at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL. Memorial Contributions may be given to Countryside Presbyterian Church, 7768 SW Hwy 200, Ocala, FL 34476. Arrangements are under the care of Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, 9695 SW 110th St. Ocala, FL 34481. Condolences may be posted to www.hiers-baxley.com.
Published in Ocala Star-Banner from Sept. 18 to Sept. 22, 2011