December 28, 2023
Chuck Graf was born and raised in Onaga, Kansas to parents Ellen and Ted Graf. He grew up with two older brothers, Jerry and Larry, plus many cousins, second cousins and even a double cousin, Daryl Graf.
Chuck graduated from Onaga High School in 1969 and went on to NCK in Beloit, Kansas, where he graduated in welding, working for several companies before running his family's bar and grill, aka: "Ted's Grill."
His first love was always hunting since his childhood; be it deer, quail, coyotes, rabbits or frogs, you name it! In his late 20s, his dream job unfolded for him when a close friend, Jim McDonald, told him that the government hired and paid coyote hunters to hunt coyotes in Wyoming, so Chuck loaded up his truck and moved to Wyoming.
He relied on his welding skills to survive until the opportunity came for him to hunt coyotes professionally. Chuck had countless friendships with ranchers who really appreciated him lowering their livestock depredation.
Wyoming is where he also met his wife, Heather, and together they helped raise their four children, Hope, Heather May, Scott and Kyle and were blessed with three grandchildren, Raynie, Adrienne and Spencer.
Chuck worked on several wildlife projects to help his county and state travel bureau industry by increasing wildlife numbers. He took part in tri-county projects to record rabies, giardia and plague numbers for coyotes, and also bait stations for skunk overpopulation areas.
He also trapped raccoons and skunks for his county's ranchers and neighbors that were a nuisance, often releasing them far from people. He assisted in different county projects including trapping troublesome black bears and mountain lions.
He flew in a two-man Super Cub or Husky plane as the gunner, often 40 feet off the ground at 100 mph. Amusement parks held no thrill for Chuck! Heather often described it as duct tape and baling wire in the sky, and prayed a lot for her husband's safety.
Besides being an avid coyote hunter, Chuck hunted elk every fall, always bringing home a bountiful supply of meat for his family. He continued hunting deer, antelope and rabbits as well.
He had even gone on an Alaskan adventure with his friend, Gary Lawrence, enduring a week of rain and cold with a hunting guide who just about starved them to death with repetitious "Mountain House" brand powdered chicken. Unfortunately, no moose or wolf were taken or harvested.
After 40 years of hunting coyotes for the federal government, Chuck retired. He and Heather took off in their RV and enjoyed traveling until diesel prices kept them stationery in Chuck's home town of Onaga, which was an enjoyable three years for them.
After overcoming lung cancer in 2013, cancer raised its ugly head again in 2023 in Chuck's other lung, but this time, it took his life and presence from many family and friends besides his wife, Heather of 36 years, who held him in her arms until his last breath at home during hospice care. Heather describing it as a beautiful thing to witness Chuck's face light up as he went from her presence and embrace to Glory, into the arms and presence of Jesus.
Fly high, Chuck!
A traveling memorial in Upton, Wyoming will be announced in the Wyoming Pioneer in the spring 2024 depending on the weather.