The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 15, 2013

James J. McGraw


— James J. McGraw, age 91, of Mankato died Thursday, February 14, 2013, at his home.

 Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, February 18, 2013, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Mankato.  Visitation will be held from 2-5 p.m., Sunday at Northview-North Mankato Mortuary, 2060 Commerce Drive, North Mankato and will continue one hour before service at the church on Monday.  Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Mankato.  Memorials may be given to the Wounded Warriors Project or School Sisters of Notre Dame.

  James was born on April 17, 1921, in Minneapolis, MN, to John and Gertrude (Noethen) McGraw, the eldest of six children. Jim graduated from St. Thomas Academy, St. Paul and attended the University of Minnesota.  Jim followed his father into a career with John Deere and Co., beginning in the mid-1930's and lasting until his death.  In 1945 he resumed his career with John Deere and Co.,  and in 1948 Jim joined Mankato Implement (John Deere) where he worked in sales and then as General Manager/Co-owner.

   On July 17, 1943, Jim married the love of his life, Florence Kelly, also of Minneapolis, MN.  They were married for 55 years. Their lasting legacy is their Catholic faith, love of family, and service to others.

  Jim honorably served his country in World War II, with the U.S. Army, serving with the John Deere Battalion in both the United States and Europe.

  Jim is survived by his twelve children: James P. (Mary), Mary Ellen (Norbert) Kenney, Barbara (Steve Mosow), John (Sally), Kevin (Chrisanne), Peter (Elaine),  Patricia (Richard) Fuller;  Michael "Mick" (Marjorie), Bridget (Greg) Belknap, Molly (Marc) Kraft, Anne McGraw-Kelly (Bob Newgard), and Kathleen "Katy" Brielmaier; 32 grandchildren; 53 great-grandchildren; siblings, John Gregory (Patricia) and Kathleen (Gerald) Gretsch.

  Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Florence on March 21, 1998; his infant son, Martin Paul; grandson, Kiel Kraft; infant grandson, James P. McGraw; infant great-grandson, James M. McGraw; son-in-law, Mike Haefner; three sisters, Mary Ellen, Rita Marie, and Patricia (Tony) Lenczewski.

   His passing begins a new chapter in the story of Jim and Florences' love, "Only Forever"