A Special Tribute to Ann Graf


We’re a close knit bunch, “The ‘Roo Crew,” and we consider you — our readers, our customers, our friends, and our families — a large part of our little TGK tribe.  We so enjoy sharing with you the moments in our lives that matter most, because, after all, that is what family does.  We often laugh together, we celebrate together, we act silly together, and sometimes we even cry together… through the good and the bad, we support each other.  Today we take a very special opportunity to remember and celebrate the life of someone very near and dear to our TGK family.

ann graf tribute

On August 6th, our hearts dropped to learn of the loss of Ann Graf.  More than simply “Katie’s mom,” Ann was a patient teacher, an attentive mother to her three children, a devoted wife, daughter and sister, and a bubbly, fun-loving friend to many.

Ann grew up as an “Air Force brat,” traveling the world with her pilot father.  It was in Munich where she met her husband, Paul (Katie’s father).  It wasn’t long before she converted to Catholicism and became very involved in the music ministry.  Katie says “she sang like an angel!”  After attending Florida State University to receive her Master’s in Speech Pathology, Ann worked in Tallahassee until Katie, her first, was born.  Just a few years later, twins, Jeanne and Robert, came along.  It wasn’t until the kids were moving along through grade  school, that Ann returned to her passion, becoming a music teacher at her church in Apex, NC.  Eventually, she became the director of preschool at the church, where she worked until this past spring.  For 22 years, she also faithfully served her parish as a choir member.

You see, beyond being a mother, a teacher, and a singer, Ann was a fighter.  In January of 2010, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.  The tumor of origin was tiny and had gone undetected for who-knows-how-many years. It wasn’t until the cancer metastasized to her brain that symptoms started showing. From there on it was a constant battle with lots of ups and downs. But her faith and the faith and love of those around her kept her going strong for the better part of the last 2.5 years.

It is difficult to say enough sweet words in moments like these.  Our hearts go out to Katie and her family as they gather to celebrate the life of Ann Graf this weekend — and always!

9 Responses to “A Special Tribute to Ann Graf”

  1. Monica

    Such a sweet memorial to a sweet woman. I know her legacy lives on in you, Katie, and your family. Out thoughts and prayers are with you all.


  2. Katie Hunt

    Beautifully written, Kristin. Thanks for the tribute — mom would’ve loved it!


    • Kristin D Strickland

      Of course, Katie! And thanks for your help… though I didn’t know your mother very well, I know she must’ve been pretty extraordinary. Love and thoughts to you and yours!


  3. kristin

    Oh Katie. Just when I think I’m all cried out. I wish I had something comforting to say but mostly I alternate between being heartbroken and being really angry.


  4. Carol Blackford

    I will only have fond memories of Ann from our working together at Saint Andrew’s. I admire the faith and strength she had, I miss her so much.


  5. Christy Sayre

    What a wonderful way to share a glimpse in to Ann’s life. She will be missed and remembered by many for the amazing life she lived and the love she shared with us all.


  6. Dori

    She was the best in so many things. There is such a void in my heart and life. I am just so happy she is out of pain and with the Big Guy!


  7. Audrey Wilson

    My favorite memory of Ann is her dancing her heart out on the dance floor at Katie + John’s wedding. :) This post is such a lovely tribute to Mrs. Graf. <3


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