Davenport, Iowa, Dec 19, 2009 / 12:34 pm
Even a year after her passing, Nancy Graf’s work continues. Only these days, it’s through her husband. A formerly inactive Catholic, Bill Graf, 61, now plays the part once carried out by one of the most active members of St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville, Iowa. Filling Nancy’s spot in various ministries is part therapy, part way to honor the memory of a woman he calls “the definition of a servant leader.”
Her gift for service began to appear to Bill when he was a junior at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Nancy Lijewski, then a junior at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul and an acquaintance of Bill, was visiting his apartment with friends when she slipped from his sight. Looking for her, he found her at the kitchen sink, washing his dishes.
Soon after, the two started dating. They wed when Bill was a senior, on Jan. 31, 1970.
When they moved to Iowa City in 1975, Nancy began teaching religious education and volunteering for other ministries at St. Thomas More Parish. But Bill, then an information system analyst at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, spent Sunday mornings working or sleeping in.