In Loving Tribute and Memorium
To those of you who have browsed, enjoyed, and learned from these pages, I have the sad responsibility of reporting that my partner in this web site, my friend, and my dad, Ken Graber, died unexpectedly on January 7th, 2007. Some of you might have also encountered him on ebay, where I'm sure you'll agree his innate kindness and decency showed through. An obituary of this remarkable man can be found at http://www.bowermanfuneralhome.net/. We tried to capture his life, but of course, that was difficult to do, and one of the omissions was his passion for, and some might say obsession with, Munising Wood Products. My dad was not a native of Munising, and the factory had closed by the time he moved to Munising, but in his retirement, he took it on himself to collect as much information as possible about the factory and its products. He passed these along to me, resulting in the pages you see here.
These pages will not go away. I still have a number of pieces of information from my dad that I'll try to format and post in the not too distant future. I'll try to answer the e-mails as best as I can, but any with questions will quickly realize that my knowledge pales quickly in comparison.
The following is a eulogy that I wrote and read for a memorial service held for my Dad in his hometown of Pretty Prairie, Kansas last summer:
Make us ever mindful of the needs of others.
Every time we had a holiday family meal, it would fall to my dad to say the grace, and he used the same one every time: Bless this food to our use, us to thy service, and make us ever mindful of the needs of others.
Ever mindful of the needs of others. That last line defined my dad as much as any single line possibly could. And he applied it to everyone and all situations.
My dad was a better man than me in many ways. He was kind, decent and above all, generous. He was generous of his time and efforts, and generous of his spirit. Nothing made him happier than to be able to do something special for family or friends. He believed the best of people and acted accordingly.
I don't know how many times I saw him as part of a volunteer crew for something at either the church or as part of the Lions Club or any other group that needed it. And every time he showed up, he was part of the same core group that always showed up. Oh, you'd see others from time to time, but if you kept track of who was there over the course of a year or two, you'd find five or ten who were there every time. My dad was one of them.
My dad believed to his core that we have an obligation to contribute to the community around us, to make it a better place. We don't to this because we have to, or for any rewards or thanks we might receive, but just because it is the right thing to do. That's what he was taught, and that's what he and my Mom taught me.
I'd like to read for you two passages that I wrote in the lead-ins to my Masters thesis and PhD dissertation. My Masters Degree dedication reads: "This thesis is dedicated to my parents, Ken and Tina Graber, without whom I wouldn't be here (in more ways than one)." The Acknowledgments section of my PhD dissertation repeats this statement, adding that: "...it's only more true now. Their unswerving love and support is one of the driving forces in my life, and I can never repay it, except for maybe what Dad said- to pass it on."
We are each one of us the product of our environment, our experiences, and our own choices. Munising, Pretty Prairie, and our extended families can be proud to have had my dad as a representative. I am proud to have had him as my dad. I've been told more than once that I resemble my dad quite a lot physically. It's my hope and my goal that he is also visible in my choices and actions. And every day, I try to say thank you again in the only way I can: by living up to the example he set and by giving back to the community and the family around me a little bit of what has been given to me.