SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 26, 2013

Robert Tilton Graffum, 88


Ipswich — Robert Tilton Graffum, 88, husband of the late Geraldine A. Graffum, passed away Sunday, March 24, 2013, surrounded by his loving family.

Born in Ipswich on January 5, 1925, he was the son of Edward and Beatrice Graffum of Ipswich. Bob entered the Army in June, 1943, and received his basic and combat engineer training at Camp McCain in Mississippi. He was sent to Europe in June, 1944, and served as an engineer recon Sgt. with the 4th Armored Division, Recon Group, Patton’s 3rd Army, and was sent throughout Europe. When the war ended, Bob was in Cheb, Czechoslovakia, with the 2nd Armored Cavalry. Bob saw action in Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe, and was awarded the Bronze Star in April 1945 for his distinguished service. He was honorably discharged in January, 1946, and then re-enlisted in September, 1947. He was commissioned as an officer in January, 1951. Major Graffum retired in February, 1965 and returned to Ipswich with his wife, Gerry, and their seven children. Bob went on to complete a second successful career as Chief Operations Security Officer for Raytheon Missile Systems Division, retiring in 1987. Bob’s second passion was organizing golf events and hanging with his golf buddies; he could frequently be found behind the counter or on the course at Candlewood Golf Club, or alternatively, at any of the local coffee shops. Bob, and his two sons, two daughters, and two grandsons, have served a combined total of 70+ years in the military, spanning World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom.

On Jan 21, 1948, Bob married his lovely bride Gerry in Carlisle, PA. The Graffums traveled the world during Bob’s military career, including Japan, Germany and many places within the United States, and returned to Ipswich to raise their family, coming full circle back to the place where they had met, Little Neck.

Bob is survived by his devoted children: Nip and Judy Graffum of Midlothian, VA, Robert and Patricia Graffum of Grantham, NH, Mary and John Hanlon of St. Petersburg, FL, Carol Nelsen of Elgin, TX, Diane Lally and her fiance’ Dan Lobdell of Rowley, Jane Graffum of Wakefield, and Barbara Graffum and her fiance’ Rob Butters of Salem. He was “Papa” to 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Bob, affectionately known as Rabbit, is also survived by his two brothers, James E. Graffum and wife Diane of Ipswich and Nathaniel “Skip” Graffum and wife Edith of Holden, MA, his sisters, Barbara Chapman and husband Roland of New Hampshire, and Doris Gerhold of Ipswich.

Bob was predeceased by his wife of sixty-one years, Geraldine; his daughter, Janet Barbara; his twin sons, David and Robert; his daughter-in-law, Ann Graffum formerly of Richmond, VA; his son-in-law, Michael Lally of Rowley, and his siblings Norman, Madeleine, and Connie.

ARRANGEMENTS: A funeral Mass will be celebrated Wednesday, March 27th at 11 A.M. at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, 54 Linebrook Road, Ipswich. Burial will follow with military honors at the Cowles Memorial Cemetery, 29 Town Farm Road, Ipswich. Visiting hours will be today (Tuesday, March 26th) from 6 to 8 P.M. in the Morris Funeral Home, 45 North Main Street, Ipswich. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Evening military service to be conducted at 7 P.M. in the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bob’s name to Herrick House, 89 Herrick St., Beverly, MA 01915, or Kaplan Family Hospice House, 78 Liberty Street, Danvers, MA 01923. For directions or to send a condolence to the Graffum family please go to: www.MorrisFH.com .