St. Helena native Carol Graff passed away peacefully at home on June 24, 2019, with her family by her side. She was 94 years old. Carol was born on March 12, 1925 to Ralph and Ethel (Martinelli) Hurd, both from pioneering Napa Valley families. She attended the Rutherford School and St. Helena Elementary School, and was on the cheer and softball teams at St. Helena High School, where she graduated in 1943.
Carol married her high school sweetheart, Gene Graff, on July 12, 1943, and they moved to southern California where Gene was serving in the Coast Guard. After the war, they returned to St. Helena where Gene worked in the family plumbing business, and eventually they became the sole proprietors of Graff Plumbing. In 1946, they welcomed twin daughters, Carolyn and Marilyn, and in 1948 they purchased the home where Carol was still living at the time of her death.
In 1979, Gene and Carol retired and spent their time traveling and enjoying their family and community. They were regulars at St. Helena High sporting events and St. Helena Fire Department activities. Carol belonged to the Rebekahs, the American Legion Auxiliary, and the Degree of Pocahontas, where she was an officer for over 50 years.
After Gene’s passing in 2001, she kept very busy with her many friends and her volunteer work at the St. Helena Hospital gift shop. Carol will be remembered for her love of her family and town, her loyalty to her friends, and her mischievous sense of humor.
She is survived by her daughters Carolyn Milat (Mike) and Marilyn Little, grandchildren Michelle Duckhorn, Mike Milat, Caryn Dombrow (David), Jennifer Di Battista (Agosto), Cliff Little (Stephanie), and 12 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Gene, sister Shirley Penland, and son-in-law Cliff Little.
Carol will be interred at the St. Helena Cemetery at 11 am on Thursday, July 11, 2019. A reception will follow at 12 pm at the American Legion Hall. All are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Collabria of Napa Valley or a charity of your choice.
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