Lorna Payne Austin Graffius
Lorna Payne Austin Graffius passed away on March 22, 2017, in Whitewater, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Born Lorna Alberta Payne on April 6, 1923, to Arthur and Eva Payne of Claremont, MN. She was the youngest of four children raised on the family farm. Following high school graduation, Lorna attended college in Milton, WI and Winona, MN. She enlisted in the U.S. Army, and trained at the Mayo Clinic School of Physical Therapy in Rochester, MN. In 1944, upon earning her PT License, 21 year old Lorna, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps. She served in England and Western Europe during and immediately after World War II, where she met Lt. William Robert “Bob” Austin. They were married in April of 1946. Lorna and Bob lived in Rochester, MN until Bob’s Army Reserve Unit was called up in 1951 during the Korean Conflict. Deciding to make the Army his career, they were stationed in many states, including Alaska, with overseas tours in Okinawa, and Germany. During these years, they raised their four daughters and, whenever possible, Lorna worked as a Physical Therapist. As a military wife, she often served in military Chapels as a musician, organized and hosted welcome luncheons for newly arriving military wives and the Austin home was always open to soldiers for a family meal or holiday celebrations.
Lorna’s working career spanned 50 years with a wide range of occupations. In the mid 1960’s, she worked as a Girl Scout Executive in Rapid City, SD. In addition to her teaching and administrative responsibilities, she was Director for a large Girl Scout camp in the Black Hills. Upon Bob’s military retirement in 1968, the couple moved from Nurnberg, Germany back to their home in Dodge Center, MN where Lorna resumed her Mayo Clinic PT work for St. Mary’s Hospital. She spent the last decade of her full-time practice working for the Dodge County Children’s Day Activity Center.
Among her many accomplishments, Lorna played the organ and piano. As a lifelong member of the Dodge Center Seventh Day Baptist Church, she served by accompanying or directing the choir and providing music for worship services. She worked at the SDB Associational and Denominational levels as a leader, Committee Chair and Council On Ministry Board member. In the 1970’s Bob and Lorna traveled the U.S. in their RV, often bringing Natural Evangelism Training to SDB churches.
Lorna was the strong support behind Bob while he was President of the 1979 SDB General Conference Sessions. In recognition of her dedication to the denomination, she was awarded the SDB Women’s Board Robe of Achievement in 1998. The 1990’s brought a move to Oviedo, FL where Lorna passed the National Physical Therapy Licensing Exam, a Florida requirement, at the age of 65. She worked part-time at South Seminole Hospital and in Home Health Care for several years.
Lorna enjoyed many activities in Oviedo, including the community women’s bowling league and accompanying the local choir. During these years, Bob and Lorna attended the Daytona Beach SDB church.
In January 1993, after almost 47 years of marriage, Bob passed away. In April of 1994, she wed the Rev. Charles Graffius. The two spent the first 10 years of their marriage as residents of Florida, serving the needs of several SDB churches, traveling the U.S. and Western World, and visiting friends and family, while taking in old sights and new. In 2003, Chuck and Lorna moved to Fairhaven Senior Living in Whitewater, WI. There, Lorna received loving support from Chuck, family and staff, as she progressed through Memory Care and into the Nursing Home facility. While able, Lorna attended the Milton SDB Church with Chuck. Altogether, they were blessed with over 22 years of marriage.
Lorna loved Jesus Christ as Savior and Friend. She believed in knowing God through His Word, the Bible. During her life, she was responsive to the Holy Spirit as a prayer warrior, blessed others with her talents and was a strong witness in the lives of many.
Lorna is survived by her husband, the Rev. Charles Graffius; her four daughters; Cheryl Driver Anderson (Rich) , Sharon (Jim) Groves, Shelley Sudbury, and Cheri (Rob) Appel; two step-children; Judge Don (Linda) Graffius and Cindy (Jim) Graffius; eight grandchildren; five step grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren, all of whom stand, as in Proverbs 31, to call her Blessed. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Lt. Col. Wm. R. “Bob” Austin; three siblings; one son-in-law, Mike Sudbury and one stepson, the Rev. Larry Graffius.
Memorial services are planned for April in Wisconsin and on July 1 2017, at the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Dodge Center, Minnesota.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
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