Ross S. Graeber was welcomed peacefully into his Heavenly home early Sunday morning, June 7, 2020, from his home in Spooner. He leaves behind his wife of 38 years, Carol (nee Wade); brother James (Kathy) Graeber; children Doris Barnett, Gloria (Bill) Crank, Curt (Barb) Graeber, Marie (Dan) Anderson; step children John (Sharon) Schultz, Sue Rogers, Mariea Schultz, Rocky (Barb) Schultz; grandchildren Jessica (Mike) Vera, Joe (Claudia) Kramarczyk, Alison Barnett, Amanda Wojtalik, Nathaniel Wojtalik, David Anderson, and Zachary Anderson; great-grandchildren Emily, Casey, River, Xavier, and Thomas; many step grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and countless friends.
Ross was born on December 18, 1929, and raised in Crown Point, Indiana. His father was a railroad man and his mom was a homemaker. He graduated high school and started college, met a girl and shortly after enlisted in the Air Force where he served for 8 years stateside during the Korean War. By the time he completed his service, he was married with two daughters. He went to work to support his family and took night classes studying electrical engineering at Purdue University in the evenings to complete his degree. His senior year he was hired right out of college to work for Motorola.
Ross first came to Spooner as a child after his father and uncle who both worked on the railroad found and purchased land on Spooner Lake. He often told the story of “Dance Hall Hill” on the north side of the lake that his family once owned. He grew up spending most summers living in a beautiful stone cabin that his family built on the west side of the lake on “the most beautiful lot on the lake”. For years, the “Inezanne” cabin was a loved landmark on Spooner Lake. Ross, now married with a family of four, returned each summer to raise a family of fishermen that followed in his footsteps of summers in that cabin.
During his career with Motorola, Ross worked with NASA during the “Space Race” of the 60s. Many years after the fact, he shared his involvement in the Apollo program with his family (this was top secret stuff back then). Ross had been at the Space Center for the first scheduled launch of Apollo 1 and, in fact, had enjoyed dinner with the astronauts the evening before Apollo 1’s fatal fire. His love of the space program, though shaken with that experience, was just as strong this year as he watched SpaceX launch the first manned space flight (May 30th) since the shuttle had been retired.
Ross moved to Spooner full time in 1976 where he met Carol Schultz while he worked for Livingston Electric. They married July 7, 1982. Ross and Carol opened their hearts and home to all of their children and over the years welcomed many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren into the world. They travelled across the country for family visits, graduations, weddings, new babies, and just for the joy of it. They stored up many travel experiences that would turn into great stories to liven their years of retirement.
Ross devoted his life to Christ in 1980 and lived his life since following the golden rule and sharing God’s love with everyone he met. “God loves you and so do I” could be heard as he said goodbye to visitors, during family calls or extended family. As long-time members of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, he loved to work behind the scenes hosting Pastors, encouraging congregation members, and supporting the youth group activities.
Ross’ smile and laugh were infectious and he shared them with everyone he met. Always the storyteller, he loved to relive his and Carol’s travel adventures or stories of family around the table playing pinochle, or over a shared meal or a phone conversation or even at the café in Economart. He always had a complement or word of encouragement available no matter the situation. As they got older, their traveling slowed considerably, he and Carol joined the volunteer drivers for the Unit on Aging, which was a source of joy and ministry for them. Ross often quipped at 70-80+ years old they were driving “old people” to their doctor appointments. This spirit of service was the cornerstone of Ross’ life.
He loved, he laughed, and he lived with gusto. He’s gone from this earth and already missed but he lives on in our hearts.
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