Rev. John Graf Jr.
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Rev. John Graf, Jr.

Rev. John Graf, Jr., died suddenly on Sunday, March 6, 2016 at home. Reverend John Graf, Jr. is a 1981 graduate of The American University in Washington D.C. and has been preforming non-denominational weddings, baptisms and funeral services throughout the metropolitan area for 20 years. Named one of "KNOTS" best picks for wedding officiants and The Wedding Wire's top Wedding Officiant, his ceremonies range from civil, spiritual and religious and covered all faiths.

Prior to becoming a Minister, Rev. Graf's 35 year career in public relations and fund raising garnered him many awards and recognitions including: National Jefferson Award recipient in 2009, Somerset County Business Partnership's Citizen of the Year in 2002 and Business Volunteer of the Year in 1999. He also was recognized for his volunteer service by: Alternatives, Inc., Somerset Valley YMCA, Bridgewater-Somerville Rotary and Somerset Treatment Services. Rev. Graf was appointed by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine to serve as a member of the Raritan Valley Community College Board of Trustees (2009-2013) and was named to the South Plainfield High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2011.

He started his career as Coordinator of Community Relations for the Somerset County Vocational & Technical Schools in 1986, followed by a six-year stint as Director of College & Community Relations at Raritan Valley Community College until 1995 when he went to work for Governor Christie Todd Whitman as Public Information Officer at the New Jersey Department of Transportation. After, he returned to Somerset County Vo-Tech until 2005 when he was named Chief Executive Officer/President of the Somerset County United Way. At United Way, he raised nearly $20 million dollars as CEO. Rev. John stepped down in 2007 and continued to work on his ministries full time. During his ministries, he served the community that he loved for the last 20 years performing marriages, baptisms and funerals as "The Ministerman". He continued his charitable donations with the assets he received from his ministries when he established the Claire & John Graf Family Foundation.

John was a caring, fun loving and gentle soul, always giving of himself. John spent his time on this earth living and loving life and will be missed by all. His love of theatre and the arts was an important part of his life, as well as his beloved sports teams, the Scarlet Knights Ladies Basketball team and the South Plainfield High School Wrestling team.

Predeceased by his parents, John and Claire Graf, surviving are his five siblings, Joann Graf, Cathy Russo, Rudy Graf, Jimmy Graf all of Florida and twin brother, Robert Graf of South Plainfield and by his nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.

A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 10AM in Sacred Heart RC Church, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield NJ 07080. Family and friends may join in visitation on Friday from 3-8PM in the McCriskin - Gustafson Home For Funerals, 2425 Plainfield Avenue South Plainfield NJ 07080. A second memorial service will be held on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 10:30AM in St. John's Episcopal Church, 158 West High Street, Somerville, NJ.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Somerset Treatment Services, 118 West End Avenue Somerville NJ 08876. For more information please see for John's interactive webpage

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Courier News on Mar. 9, 2016.
Funeral Mass
10:00 AM
Memorial service
10:30 AM
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16 entries
March 3, 2020
Rest in Peace John. After all this time it's still hard to believe. Sadly missed, but ALWAYS remembered ❤
Carole & Jeff Cardinale
March 21, 2019
REV. You are not forgotten, my condolences once again to your loving sister and family, I know we still mourn, I hope that time and love have made the some of the grief found loving memories to share until fellowship unto heaven.

Miss you bro
Harold Richardson
October 17, 2017
I am so saddened to see John passed. We were in college together and I have so many fond memories, he sure made me laugh. See you up there, John.
Patty Stanton
April 11, 2017
He was a kind and understanding soul. A true man with no fear of how he lived, with a great sense of humor and a love of all human kind. I did not know him very long, and a life time would not have been long enough, but in this time I witnessed him do things that my dear mother said was incumbent upon every God loving person to do; feed the hungry, care of the sick and poor, honor the elderly. I can not believe his time on this plane ended so sudden, he never to be braggadocious, never told me of numerous philanthropies and good causes he was behind, but ohh how it makes sense. God bless is spirited soul. I think of him time to time and would like his family to know more than any accolades, that he had numerous, he was a friend of me and I respected and cherished the man... Reverend John. May God keep him and bless his entire family.
Harold Richardson
February 14, 2017
was his father from Altoona, PA? if yes Please message me at
March 15, 2016
To Sir with Love. We will miss you but never forget you.

Ellen Salerno DeMaio
March 11, 2016
You made our life milestones more special and memorable. You will always be in our hearts.
Michael and Natalie Wildermuth
March 10, 2016
Heaven received an angel
You will be missed John
Cindy Wascavage
March 10, 2016
I would like to send my deepest sympathy to everyone in the loss of a son, a brother, cousin, and a husband and my prayers are with all of you too. I met John Graf Jr when I went to the Cagers Club with my boyfriend Bobby, and all I can say that John was a very kind, wonderful guy and he was a great friend to all who knew him too.John Graf Jr always went to all the Rutger's Basketball games and cheered the teams on whether they won or loss the games too. All I can say is I will truly miss and love him as a great friend to. Sincerely Yours Meryl Landau
Meryl Landau
March 10, 2016
You were one of a Million John. RIP. I know for sure you would be in each and everyone's heart always. I sure know one thing there will definitely be a star in the sky looking down to us and it will be you. Luv ya John you were a GREAT FRIEND.
Carole & Jeff Cardinale
March 9, 2016
You will be missed John..... Good man, exceptional friend to all & an unbelievable friend to our mutual friend Deirdre who you will now be together with in Paradise...

Rest in Peace
March 9, 2016
John was an exceptional person to all as well as a dear companion to my best friend of 30 years ms Deirdre Berry..who passed in August 2013... after suffering with a debilitating cancer...He was there for her constantly......I am only happy that they will be joined together in Paradise.....Hope u guys (Deirdre & john) pray for us down here!!!!!!!

My condolences to family and friends.

Sandra Nenna Renda
March 9, 2016
John will be missed by SO MANY people. He truly was the BEST!!
Laurie Beckhorn
March 9, 2016
There is a Buddhist proverb that reminds of John....
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared" That light is John's spirit which lives on in all of us who have the good fortune to have known him...
Lolita Clyburn
March 9, 2016
Laurie Fitchett
March 9, 2016
Rest peacefully my friend, you will be missed!
Barry Pawlowski
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