Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Obituary: Edmund Graber was business executive

World War II veteran had avid interest in sports

By Rebecca Billman,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ANDERSON TWP. — Edmund Graber, retired senior vice president of The Midland Co., died Saturday at his home after a long illness.

        During his 37 years with Midland, Mr. Graber, 77, helped the company become a leader in the field of financing manufactured housing.

        But his friends and colleagues remember him as a selfless family man who refrained from talking about his World War II experiences and who cared deeply about people.

        “Ed Graber will always be remembered for his loyalty and devotion to the people and organizations he was involved with,” said J.P. Hayden Jr., retired chairman of The Midland Co. “I was very fortunate to have Ed as a dear friend and a trusted business adviser. He certainly will be missed by all.”

        He grew up in Ravenna in northern Ohio and was recruited to play football at Ohio University after high school. He played guard for the Bobcats and attended classes for a single semester before joining the Navy.

        Still a teen-ager, Mr. Graber was sent to the South Pacific to be a gunner on a Navy bomber. After his plane was shot down, he spent more than a year in an island hospital recovering from his injuries.

        “I knew Ed for 55 years and it was something he never talked about,” said Mr. Hayden.

        After he returned, Mr. Graber went to Miami University, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and worked as an assistant athletic director.

        “Everyone who had the opportunity to meet Ed knew he was an avid sportsman,” said his friend, George Thurner. “His recall of sports facts, figures, names and dates was legendary.”

        Mr. Graber graduated with a business degree in 1951 and joined Midland two years later.

        When he started, the company dealt in automobile and mobile home financing, said Mr. Hayden. Mr. Graber worked his way up to vice president of the largest single division, the mobile home division, where he controlled more than $40 million. When he retired in 1990, he was executive vice president of the finance division.

        Mr. Graber was a member of the Hyde Park Golf and Country Club, where he was on the board of governors and chairman of the Founders' Cup Committee.

        He also followed the Midland Redskins team, said Mr. Hayden.

        Survivors include Betty, his wife of 52 years; a son, Edmund Charles Graber of Washington, D.C.; and two granddaughters.

        Visitation is 9:30 a.m. today followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, Fourth and Sycamore streets downtown. Burial is at Spring Grove Cemetery.

        Memorials: Page Ann Hayden Foundation, 255 E. Fifth St., Suite 2400 Cincinnati 45202-4787; or Vitas Hospice, 1132 W. Kemper Road, Cincinnati 45240.Mr. Graber


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