2018-02-01 / Columns

Omena News surpasses the decade mark

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After almost 72 years of marriage and a love for each other that began when they were in college three-quarters of a century ago, Bill and Marilyn Graf died within three days of each other this past week. They were both 96.

The Graf family has a long history in Omena, and Bill was a summer resident all of his life. He introduced Marilyn to Omena and she also loved it and they brought their children here every summer. Bill’s maternal grandfather, Dr. Porter of Cincinnati, originally built the cottage that is now the Tate cottage on Ingall’s Bay. That is where Bill and his brother and sister, Doug Graf and Janet Graf Tate (both deceased), spent their summers. After marrying and having their own families, the siblings built two more adjacent cottages and they each brought their families up every summer. Bill was an ob/gyn in Cincinnati, so, like most of the men of that era, he was only able to join the family on his vacation.

Bill’s primary affiliation was with Bethesda Hospital where his grandfather, father, and brother also practiced medicine. From 1959 to 1974, he served as Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Bethesda and, during those same years, directed the Residency Training Program. After he retired from clinical practice, he served as Bethesda’s Director of Medical Education for twelve years. For many years, Bill’s partner in his medical practice was Dr. James McCord, also an Omena summer resident. Bill’s many interests outside of his medical career and his love for Omena, included photography, eating Graeter’s ice cream, fixing things, refinishing furniture, and keeping old cars. Many people may remember the Graf classic “woody” station wagon around Omena in the summer. Marilyn was an excellent bridge player and award winning needlepointer.

But, for both of them, their favorite thing was spending time with their family. Their four children, Christine Graf, William R. Graf, Jr., Josephine G. Thayer, and Amy List, and their families, continue the tradition of spending as much time as they can in Omena. Bill and Marilyn were an important part of the Omena community for many years and will be missed.

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For many years, the Omena News awarded “Dubious Achievements” for the previous year’s funny and quirky things that Omena residents did. This year, there is just one very dubious accomplishment, and that is that this column represents ten years that I – and my staff – have done the Omena News column. And ten years that the residents of Omena have shared their experiences.

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Well, we made it through January. While February sounds like it’s going to have a frigid beginning, there’s lots to do in and around Omena. The Northport Arts Association (NAA) has planned a full schedule of interesting classed over the next several months. Tomorrow there is a preview session of the Chakradance: Meditation through Movement class. Go to the NAA website, northportartsforall.com/classes, for information on all of their classes.

Don’t wait another minute to make your reservations for the Northport Community Arts Center’s (NCAC) upcoming Dinner Theater at Tucker’s, “Don’t Cry for me, Margaret Mitchell”. Seating for the performances and dinner are Friday and Saturday evenings, February 9, 10 and 16, 17, at 5:30 pm, and Sunday afternoons, February 11 and 18, at 3:30. Reservations must be made in advance.

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Mark your calendars for the annual Northport Winter Carnival at Braman Hill on February 17 from 10 am – 4 pm. Bring the kids and grandkids. It’s lots of fun for everyone.

The Leelanau Township Community Foundation survey is a great opportunity for everyone to give their input regarding future directions for the village and the township. It will be available on-line until February 5 at www.surveymonkey.com/r/ DesignandAchieve. Please take a few minutes to fill it out.

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Happy Birthday to Amelia Rose Hoffman, who turns seven, and to Abby Biederman, who turns eight. Happy Birthday also to Nancy Gregory, Tony Sova, Judy Smart, Martha Eldridge, Laurie Adelson, and Brian Shapiro, who shares his birthday with Ground Hog Day. Happy Anniversary to George and Annette Husted, and to Bruce and Judy Balas.

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Happy Groundhog Day, everyone. Go spring!

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