• Hugh Gene Graff

  • With gratitude for a life well-lived, the family of Hugh Graff announces his passing on Feb. 17, 2013.

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  • With gratitude for a life well-lived, the family of Hugh Graff announces his passing on Feb. 17, 2013.
    Services will be 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at the First Christian Church, 125 S. Pleasant St., Independence, MO 64050. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. prior to the service. Private burial at Mount Washington Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the First Christian Church or Crossroads Hospice, 9237 Ward Pkwy., Suite 300, Kansas City, MO 64114.
    Hugh was born December 25, 1919, on a farm near Rosendale, Mo., to Irvin and Myrtle Graff. During the depths of the Depression, Hugh supported himself with the “most lucrative paper route in town” for the St. Joseph News Press and Gazette. He formed the Hugh and the Arcadians Dance Orchestra and acted as leader, arranger, sax and vocal soloist. He was a lieutenant in Central High School ROTC and graduated in 1937. In 1939 he graduated from St Joseph Junior College, Mo., and received his private pilot's license at Rosecrans Field, St. Joseph.
    As the war escalated, Hugh joined the Civilian Pilot Training program and then the McFarland Flying Service in Pittsburg, Kansas, where he instructed glider pilots for the military. He was hired by Trans World Airlines as a mechanic 1944, and checked out to Captain in 1946. Before his retirement in 1979, Hugh had piloted every airplane TWA had: DC-3, Constellation, Convair 880, Boeing 707,727, 747 and Lockheed 1011.
    In 1960 Hugh moved to the flight training staff in Kansas City as an instructor pilot. In 1968 he became director of TWA's satellite training facility in New York, playing a key role in the development of training and operations standards for the Boeing 747 and the Lockheed 1011. He later served as manager of pilots at Kennedy International Airport in New York before being named general manager of flying for TWA in Kansas City. He had administrative and operational responsibility for nearly 600 pilots.
    After his nearly 36 year career with TWA, Hugh worked as a business consultant with Commerce Bank of Independence. He was a member of KCI and Independence Rotary clubs (traveling to Seoul, Korea for the Rotary International Convention), Independence Junior Chamber of Commerce, and committees for the revitalization of the Bingham Waggoner Estate. Hugh served as a deacon and an elder of the First Christian Church, where he was a member for nearly 70 years. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and times in the Lake of the Ozarks with family and friends. He treasured being Papa of the SACK Pack. He was preceded in death by his wives: Susanna Hitz Graff and Norma Cottingham Graff.
    He is survived by his children Shirley Graff, Lake Tapawingo, Mo., Natalie Graff-Baker and husband, Les, Lafayette, Calif., and Hap Graff and wife, Susie, Lake Tapawingo, Mo.; stepsons, Reed Cottingham and wife, Phyllis, Orlando, Fla., and Bruce Cottingham, Kansas City, Kan.; grandchildren, Kristen Graff-Baker and husband, Jonathan, Walnut Creek, Calif., Sarah Graff, Lake Tapawingo, Mo., Amanda Graff-Baker, Portland, Ore., Carson Graff and wife, Adriane, Lee’s Summit, Mo., and Samantha Cottingham and Ashley Cottingham, both of Orlando, Fla.; and great-grandchildren, Natalia GraffBaker and Zachary GraffBaker-Bishop, both of Walnut Creek, Calif.
    Page 2 of 2 - He was the consummate gentle man whose integrity, hard work ethic, kind spirit, and love of life continue to inspire us to LIVE LIFE WELL.
    Condolences may be sent to the family at www.speakschapel.com.
    Arrangements: Speaks Suburban Chapel, 816-373-3600.
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