Obituary of N. Walter Graff
Graff, N. Walter age 83, of Edina, passed away on May 23, 2023 surrounded by his family: his beloved wife, Margaret Wong; his children, Meg (Jim) Parsons and Norman (Jenny Oliphant) Graff, his stepchildren, Michele (Matt Goldman) Michaelson and Christopher Wong (Beth Winnick) Michaelson; their grandchildren, Evva, Elise, and Elaina Parsons; Hayden and Solvej Graff; Carolyn and Camille Dewey; Sawyer, Reese, and Esme Michaelson; and his niece, Kirstin (Bruce) Strom.
Walter was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to a family with parents Norman and Evva (née Morgans) Graff and sister Sharonne. His family had deep roots in the community where his grandfather, A.N. Graff, was mayor and the family business was Graff Motor Supply. A Harvard-educated lawyer, Walter began his career in Boston, Massachusetts before moving to Minneapolis in 1967 with his first wife, Peg Graff, and children, Meg and Norman. He was a partner at Best & Flanagan where he specialized in real estate law. In the 1980s, he wrote the original condominium laws for the State of Minnesota. In addition to practicing law, he taught at the University of Minnesota Law School and served on the Board of Trustees of Northwestern Health Sciences University, as a Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, and as President of the United States-China People's Friendship Association (USCPFA). It was at a USCPFA picnic that he finally summoned the courage to ask Margaret on a date that led to 35 love-filled years of marriage, including 10 trips to China together, frequent visits to family in Brazil, many other memorable travels, and daily fulfillment in each other's company, tending the garden, and mastering the grill. His wit and kindness touched thousands of dinner and overnight guests to their home, and his wisdom and eclectic curiosity extended to choral music, shape note and folk singing, railways, history, and learning Welsh by distance with students less than half his age across the ocean.
A memorial service with reception to follow will be held on Tuesday, May 30, at 1:00pm, at Lakewood Cemetery Memorial Chapel. (A Zoom link will be posted at lakewoodcemetery.org/places/memorial-chapel/.)
Memorials preferred to Sen Lín Hú Chinese Language Village Cultural Fund, https://concordialanguagevillages.givingfuel.com/chinese-language-village-cultural-fund