Edwin Elmer Graf passed away Sept. 9 in Hawthorne at the age of 84. He was born on Feb. 7, 1929 in Terry, Mont. to Emanual and Lydia “Bitz” Graf. One of 11children, his family farmed in the Miles City area until 1937 when they relocated to the Fairfield Bench near Great Falls and continued to farm.
After high school he worked through Montana, Idaho into the Lake View and Klamath Falls area.
In the early ‘50’s, he and Barbara (Bunch) Graf began to start their family in the Tule Lake Basin.
In 1960 we moved to Lee Vining, Calif. Ed was employed by the U.S. Pumice Co. for 11 years. In 1965 they bought a home in Hawthorne and Elmer commuted to Lee Vining daily until 1971.
Taking a bartending job at the Tia Winds after a couple of years, he started at the El Capitan and became the bar manager for a number of years. He then purchased The Log Cabin and changed its name to The Sierra Station. He ran a clean, honest joint. He sold out and ran a bar near Spokane.
He decided to return to Hawthorne and worked a few years for Joe Viani then a stent at the Hawthorne Club and eventually returned to the El Capitan and when age dictated, he filled in for Sheri Self, covering vacations and working events and parties upstairs. He would work a Saturday day shift until he retired at 80 years old.
He stated league bowling in Babbitt in 1963. In 1966 to 1967 the bowling community started a junior bowling league. He and Loren “Irish” Ireland were the coaches. Edwin bowled for Joe’s Tavern for many years. To mention a few of his doubles partners, they were: Allen Lee; Rick Hamrey; Jim Graf; Wade Barton and T.C. Martin.
He qualified and bowled in two senior national tournaments. One in Kansas City, Missouri and another in Jacksonville, Florida. We started bowing as a family unit in Babbitt in 1961. When the doors closed at the bowling alley for the last time, “Fast” Eddie never rolled another line.
Inspired by his brother Wilbert, 14 months his senior, he began to cycle and logged a few thousand miles in the streets of Hawthorne and the highways of Mineral County. Inspired by his son Bruce, who started golfing with the Roy Craft family as a boy and later as an Mineral County High School golf team member. Dad, Bax and I all carried his bag a time or two when he competed and eventually another of Ed Graf’s passions was born.
He supported all of his kids’ interests and activities and was a good father.
The Bunch-Graf connection involved 21 siblings, so his bar world; cycling and golfing was also accompanied by being an uncle to a large number of nieces and nephews.
He golfed through the fall of 2012 and peddled a few short runs up to this last spring.
He enjoyed very much his life in Hawthorne and had no desire to reside elsewhere. A service to appreciate his walk was enjoyed at Baxter’s home on September 16 with family in attendance.
Youngest sister, Peggy and Ed White of Grants Pass; brother Wilbert of Great Falls; daughter Debra of Winnemucca; son Bruce of Okinawa, Japan; sons Jim and Baxter of Hawthorne and grandchildren: Eddie and Richelle of Silver Peak; Levi and Sara of Fallon; Cody of Truckee; James Baxter of Portland; Cristina and Paul of Hawthorne: great grandchildren Andre; Devin and Joe of Hawthorne; Levi and Sydney of Silver Peak and many friends from Hawthorne. Suzie of Ridgecrest; Mini of Reno.
The spirits of his parents and best friend Barbara, his fallen brothers and sister and the entire Bunch-Graf clan who have not fallen with spiritual expressions.
By Brother James Walker, a deacon of Hawthorne’s Bethel Baptist church; accompanied with music, song and inspiration by sister Christine’s of Hawthorne’s Assembly of God Church as Edwin would say, JW and Robbin in the Hawthorne Cemetery where he will be buried.