Janice “Jan” Marie (Uecker) Graeff, age 71, formerly of Howard Lake, was called home by her Lord and Savior Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. She passed peacefully, surrounded by her husband, Tom, daughter Melissa, and baby brother David.
Throughout her illness, Jan seemed content. She trusted in the Lord and the plan that He had laid out for her.
Jan was born Sept. 8, 1947, in Hutchinson, to parents Eldon August Uecker and Lillian Ruth (Mielke) Uecker. She was the second child and oldest girl of nine children.
Jan was baptized in the Lutheran faith Sept. 28, 1947, at St. James Lutheran Church of Howard Lake; and confirmed in her faith at the same church March 26, 1961.
She graduated from Howard Lake High School June 3, 1965. After high school, Jan moved to Minneapolis.
She retired in her early 60s after working just over 20 years at Cub Foods.
Jan was blessed with a son, Mark, June 6, 1981. Being a single mother, she brought Mark to an in-home daycare run by Olivia Matthews. Just over a year later, Jan’s mother passed away, and Olivia “adopted” Jan and Mark into her family.
Aug. 31, 1984, Jan was riding the bus home from work and met Tom. They were engaged by Sept. 30 that same year.
Jan and Tom were married March 30, 1985, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis, where they remained members for over 34 years. They were blessed with a daughter, Melissa, Aug. 13, 1985.
The Graeff family remained in south Minneapolis throughout the children’s childhood. Jan served six years as Melissa’s Girl Scouts troop leader.
Jan was a proud military mom as her son, Mark, joined the Army Reserve in 1999, and made it home safely from three deployments.
Jan was preceded in death by her parents, Eldon and Lillian Uecker; stepmother Elvera Johnson Uecker; father-in-law Alton Graeff; adopted parents Edward and Olivia Matthews; sisters-in-law Kathryn Rathmanner Uecker, and Susan (Graeff) Boynton; niece KariAnn Uecker; and nephew Jason Bratton.
She is survived by her husband, Thomas Graeff; son Mark Graeff; daughter Melissa Graeff; six brothers and two sisters: Jerry (Brenda) Uecker, Allan (Kathy) Uecker, LuAnn (Jerry) Moy, Bruce Uecker, Arvid Uecker, Barry (Peggy) Uecker, David (Julie) Uecker, and Susan (Craig) Leaf; mother-in-law Ruth Graeff; and sisters-in-law Judy (Doug) Graeff, and Marj (Gary) Swenson.
Jan is further survived by four adopted sisters, and one adopted brother: Gwen Matthews, Robert (JoeAnn) Matthews, Rena (Ben) Hall, Adrianne (Jesse) Bratton, and Rachel (Richard) Rohling; 34 nieces and nephews; and a host of great nieces, great nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.