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Rudolf Graf

December 27, 1932 ~ February 22, 2024 (age 91) 91 Years Old

Rudolf Graf Obituary

Rudolf Walter Graf of Newcastle, Maine, passed away peacefully on February 22, 2024, in the loving presence of his family.

Rudi was born on Dec. 27th, 1932 to Swiss immigrants Hedwig and Emil Graf in Baltimore, Maryland in the midst of the Great Depression. He grew up in Syracuse, New York, as a middle child with an older brother Peter and a younger brother Bob.  

Rudi graduated with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He began his career with Dewey and Almy Chemical Company. His dynamic managing talents and knowledge of minerals led him to becoming the International Vice President of Engelhard Mineral Corporation. 

In 1986 with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, he combined his passions for science and education and founded The Science Source in Waldoboro, Maine. The company specialized in the production of high quality science teaching materials in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, physical science, astronomy, earth science, environmental science, design technology, engineering, and health science. Having both national and international clients, his work helped inspire a great number of young minds. Rudi believed in making the world a better place through scientific exploration and innovation. 

Rudi married Dorothy Linton in 1960. She was the love of his life. Appropriate to their life to come, Dorothy and Rudi met on a ship bound for Europe. They were both heading to The Experiment in International Living. They shared a love of skiing and hiking, traveling widely, often to places where few others have gone or would go, including the remote regions of the Arctic and many a hiking or canoeing trip to locations such as the backwoods and waters of Alaska and the mountains of Switzerland. Together they explored and visited many countries while living in Switzerland, the United States, and finally Maine. 

He was an avid wine connoisseur and longtime collector. His taste for fine wines was both well-known and appreciated. He took much delight in their pairing and sharing, particularly, with Dorothy’s exquisite cooking. They loved to entertain and threw many a great party. During their last 38 years in Newcastle both Dorothy and Rudi treasured these get-togethers with their friends including their beloved Isle-au-Haut Gang and the Romeos (Retired Old Men Eating Out). 

Rudi had a penchant for the absurd, finding delight in gag gifts, including bobble heads and the well-known wall-mounted talking Big Mouth Billy Bass. His collections went well beyond bobble heads and fine wines and into the realm of Maine art, beautiful rocks and minerals, antique books and an appreciation for sculptures and paintings of ravens which even now remain a mystery to many.

As a connoisseur he frequented fine restaurants around the world but when it came down to it, his favorites were local restaurants such as King Eider‘s Pub and Moody’s Diner where he was a well-known presence with a love for blueberry pancakes with real Maine maple syrup. 

He cared deeply for his community, bringing his passion and skills to a diverse assortment of boards and organizations. His many interests were fueled by notable science journals, the New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and often a discovery found within the aisles at Skidompha Used Books in Damariscotta. 

Rudi is survived by his beloved wife Dorothy and by two of their three children and their families: Andrew with his wife Stacey and their children Madison and Alex, of Maine, and Lisa with her husband Peter and their daughter Sophia who live in Germany. Dorothy and Rudi’s youngest son Alex died tragically in China in 2003. They established a scholarship fund in Alex’s memory at the Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, California, co-founded by Rudi‘s niece, Laura Kretschmar.   

In addition to Rudi’s commitment to environmental and humanitarian causes he often volunteered his time at the Bowdoin College Peary-MacMillen Arctic Museum.  As a docent there, he delighted in introducing school children to the world of the Arctic which had so fascinated him throughout his life. His deep care for our natural environment could also be seen in his involvement with the Damariscotta River Association, which is now part of the Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust. 

There will be no public service although a private memorial is planned. If you would like to honor Rudi’s memory, please consider supporting the Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust or the Alex Graf memorial fund at Lighthouse Charter School, Oakland, CA. (Lighthouse Community Public Schools).

Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543.  Condolences, and messages for his family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.

 

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