Edward M. Graffeo

Edward M. Graffeo

Edward M. Graffeo

GUILDERLAND — Edward M. Graffeo, the loving patriarch of his family, will be deeply missed, his family wrote in a tribute. He died on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, at the age of 96.

He fought in some of the bloodiest battles in World War II and took great pride in his service. After the war, he worked as a surveyor, helping with the construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Northway.

He was a devoted husband to Agnes, his beloved wife of 62 years. “Edward was a wonderful and supportive father and he truly enjoyed the time he spent with his adored granddaughters,” his family wrote.

Mr. Graffeo grew up in Brooklyn and Elmont, New York, the son of Sicilian immigrants, Paul Graffeo and Vittoria Buscemi Graffeo. His two sisters, Santa Graffeo and Josephine Graffeo, died before him.

Immediately after completing high school, he enlisted in the United States Army and served in World War II as a corporal in the 731st Field Artillery Battalion, Battery B. Having been trained as a surveyor, he was assigned as a forward observer and was sent behind enemy lines to radio command the location of German tanks so the battalion’s Long Tom guns could be accurately aimed for battle.

“All his life, he took great pride in his Army service, having courageously fought on Omaha Beach on D-Day, in the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, and on the front lines in France, Belgium, and Germany, enduring many hardships,” his family wrote. “One freezing winter evening in Germany, he vowed that, if he survived the war, he would never complain about the weather and he kept that promise.”

He was a member of the Capital District Battle of the Bulge organization; the American Legion; and the Boyd Hilton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7062 in Altamont, where he received the Loyalty Day Award for dedicated service supporting veterans.

He was a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Capital District Senior Issues Forum for his volunteer work at the Veterans Administration hospital, his many lecturers about World War II in schools, and his service to his church.

On the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, he was honored with a New York State Senate Resolution for his bravery in battle. His son proudly displays Edward’s military medals and honors in his home.

After the war, Mr. Graffeo was selected to attend a semester at Cambridge University and, after returning home from England, he attended Hofstra University.

Mr. Graffeo worked as a surveyor on Long Island and, when he accepted a surveying job to work on the construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike, the family moved to Lanesboro, Massachusetts. Upon completion of that project, the family moved to Schenectady so he could work on the construction of the Northway. The family relocated to Guilderland and for the remainder of his career, he was employed at the New York State Department of Transportation in land acquisition. 

“Upon retirement, he and Agnes enjoyed years of travel adventures throughout the country with the Duanesburg Senior Citizens,” his family wrote. “On a trip to England, Edward returned to Stourbridge where he had attended artillery training before being shipped to Europe. He had an emotional visit with English veterans who expressed gratitude for the valor of the young American soldiers who fought to help save their country.”

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Edward M. Graffeo is survived by four children: Victoria Graffeo, Andrea Graffeo, Christina Hippchen and her husband, Thomas, and Paul Graffeo and his wife, Jennifer — all of Guilderland. He is also survived by his granddaughters: Ashley Cahill and her husband, Charles, Sarah Degnan, Theresa Graffeo, Rachael Degnan, and Laura Graffeo. 

There will be no calling hours due to the pandemic. A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Christ the King Church in Guilderland in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Internment with military honors will be at the Gerald Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Boyd Hilton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7062, 11 Mill Street, Altamont, NY 12009.

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