Mary Evelyn Graf
April 28, 1929 - June 13, 2014
Mary Evelyn Graf went to be with her Lord in Salem, Oregon on June 13, 2014. She was born on April 28, 1929 in Denver, Colorado, the daughter of Chester and Elsie Parke. At an early age she moved to Salem where she graduated from North Salem High in 1948. After several years Mary Evelyn moved to Pasadena, California to pursue voice training and became the soprano soloist of Pasadena Calvary Baptist Church. While in Pasadena she met Robert Graf, an Army officer studying at California Institute of Technology. Following his graduation they married on June 19, 1953 in Salem. In the course of Robert's Army career, she continued her study of voice in New York City and Washington, D C. She was the soprano soloist in a major Washington D. C. church and later with the U S Army wives' choral group in Taiwan. While in Taiwan Mary Evelyn became proficient in Chinese watercolor painting. In 1967 a Chinese Army general sponsored a showing of 57 of her paintings in Taipei, Taiwan. This exhibit, the first of its kind in Taiwan by a foreigner, drew thousands of visitors. She subsequently received a Certificate for promoting Sino-American relations by the American military leadership.
After Mary Evelyn and her husband settled in Salem upon his retirement from the Army in 1968, she continued painting and exhibiting Chinese watercolors in the Portland and Salem areas. As a member of the Oregon Watercolor Society one of her paintings was exhibited throughout the State. At this time she also became interested in doll collecting and became an energetic member of the United Federation of Doll Collectors. For many years she was a member and officer of Oregon's Willamette Valley Doll Club. In January 2005 Mary Evelyn and her husband moved from South Salem to Avamere Court in Keizer retirement community where she resided until her death.
From an early age Mary Evelyn's trust and faith in Jesus as her Lord and Savior were of uppermost importance in her life. She was an active member of Salem First Baptist Church, especially in the choir, both before her move to Pasadena and after her return to Salem. She enjoyed many years of hosting bible studies in their home. She is survived by her husband Robert and son Robert E Graf Jr and his wife Nancy, of Rock Island, Illinois and grandchildren Melissa and Matthew. She is also survived by her brother, David Parke of Pendleton, Oregon. Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, June 20th, at Salem First Baptist Church. Memorials may be sent to the church or to the Salem Union Gospel Mission. Interment will be in the Union Cemetery of Cedar Mill located in Washington County. Arrangements are by Restlawn Funeral Home of Salem.
Restlawn Funeral Home, Restlawn Memory Gardens and Mausoleum - Salem
201 Oak Grove Road NW Salem, OR 97304
Published in StatesmanJournal on June 18, 2014