Mary Joyce Grahl thumbnail

Mary Joyce Grahl

June 14, 1932 -
September 28, 2020

Mary Joyce Grahl of Savoy, Illinois, died 28 September at the age of 88 after complications related to COVID-19.

Mary was born in State College (Bellefonte), Pennsylvania, on June 14, 1932. She grew up with her sisters Nita and Judy in State College, where her father George operated a boarding home for students and …read more

Mary Joyce Grahl of Savoy, Illinois, died 28 September at the age of 88 after complications related to COVID-19.

Mary was born in State College (Bellefonte), Pennsylvania, on June 14, 1932. She grew up with her sisters Nita and Judy in State College, where her father George operated a boarding home for students and a small restaurant that closed during the Great Depression. The family briefly relocated to live with relatives on a farm in Pennsylvania until the economy improved.

Mary graduated from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and worked as a secretary for a church in Fullerton, California. She married Richard Grahl, also a graduate of Capital, and they had three children, Bruce, Arnold, and James, living in Columbus and then Champaign, Illinois. They later divorced.

Mary worked for many years as an administrative assistance and secretary for the University of Illinois’ Economics Department, in what was then known as the Econ Steno Pool. She received a 20-year service award from the University Board of Trustees in 1989.

She was a longtime member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Champaign, and frequently volunteered before her retirement, stuffing bulletins in the church office on Saturdays, singing in the choir, and serving on the welcoming committee, calling back visitors.

Mary loved cats. She possessed an inner strength that wasn’t always obvious. During one early family outing to Lake of the Woods, she stood by a relative of a drowning victim on the beach because “she was standing there all alone.” She also made several cross country trips to visit her children, then living in Texas with their dad. She was very close to her sister Nita and her family in New Jersey.

After her retirement from the University of Illinois, she lived in Savoy.

Mary is preceded in death by her parents, George and Elma Laird, and her sisters Judith Laird Mills and Nita Gibb Adams. She is survived by her sons Bruce of Greenville, Texas; Arnold (Molly) of Mundelein, Illinois, and their children Peter and Christina; and James (Irina) of Overland Park, Missouri, and their children Nicolas and Alexander.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 10, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 509 S Mattis Ave, Champaign, Illinois. A short visitation will be held following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church.

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Service Information

Service Information

Date: Saturday, October 10, 2020

Time: 11:00 am

St. John Lutheran Church

Address:

509 S. Mattis Ave.
Champaign, Illinois 61821
 

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