Rex Lee Graff, 74, of Prosser, our beloved father, teacher and friend to many, died peacefully on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011.
Rex was born Dec. 4, 1936 in St. Ignatius, Mont., the middle child of Helen and Peter Graff.
He served in the U.S. Navy from 1955 to 1959 as an airplane mechanic.
He was very clever with his hands and never met an engine he couldn't fix.
After completing his tour in the Navy, he married his high school sweetheart, Marylou, in 1960. The couple had three children, Kelly Jo, Peter and Scott.
He often said his family was his best accomplishment and he was a doting father and husband.
Rex was a gifted teacher, sharing his passion for learning with thousands of students throughout his 32 years of teaching. He spent 20 years on the faculty at Prosser High School, teaching a variety of subjects such as auto mechanics, general math and computer-aided drafting.
He was a Mustang to the core, and a reliable (and often vocal) sideline presence wherever PHS teams played.
Rex's hobbies and passions were many. He loved long road trips in his motorhome, telling stories around a campfire, and stopping at every garage sale to add to his sizeable collections of odd pocket knives, Hot Wheels cars and long forgotten tools.
But above all, helping people and fixing their things was what brought him the most abiding joy. If you had a squeaky fan belt and knew Rex Graff, that squeak didn't last long. Let him take your car for a "quick spin" and it came back with its oil changed and a gear shift that didn't rattle for the first time in years.
He was, to so many, a guardian angel with a smile and a socket set.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Marylou; two sons, Peter (Tami) of Seattle and Scott (Kris) of Milwaukee, Wis.; two grandsons, Elliott Rex and Owen Lee Karim; a sister, Elsie Rand of Portland, Ore.; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kelly Jo; his mother and father; and brother, Leroy Graff.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, Dec. 9, 2011, at 1 p.m. at the Prosser High School gymnasium.
All wishing to honor Rex and his life are welcome to attend.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Rex Graff Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Yakima Federal Savings, P.O. Box 151, Prosser, WA 99350, which will provide financial assistance to selected Prosser High School graduates seeking further technical or vocational training.
The family would like to express their deepest thanks to Lower Valley Hospice and Palliative Care, as well as the staff at Quail Hollow Memory Care Community for making Rex's final days comfortable.
Prosser Funeral Home in Prosser is in charge of arrangements.