Leland E. Graese

Jan. 27, 1932 to Nov. 17, 2023


Last updated 1/11/2024 at 9:30am

Leland E. Graese

Leland E. Graese passed away peacefully during the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2023, in Tacoma, Wash., at the age of 91.

"Lee," the baby of eight children, was born Jan. 27, 1932, at the Cheyenne River Agency, S.D., to Emil and Anna (Wesenberg) Graese.

He lived in South Dakota and Idaho when the US Army requested his presence because of the Korean War. Due to his incredibly high IQ and the fact he could type, he never left the Pacific Northwest.

It was then that Leland was told about a small town in Eastern Washington that had an excellent college and was a great place to raise a family. In 1958, he graduated from Eastern Washington College, after only three years, and was soon hired there as an accountant.

He retired from Eastern Washington University after 30 years in 1988.

Leland married the love of his life, Merna (Rice) Graese in 1952. Last fall, they celebrated their 71st anniversary.

Lee and Merna loved to fish. As long as Merna was with him, it didn't matter if it was through a hole in the ice or on a lake in the summer heat.

In addition to fishing, Leland enjoyed golfing, bowling, billiards and many more hobbies. He loved hobbies that required him to analyze an issue in order to complete the task.

This deep-thinking took many forms. What golf club should I use? Corn or marshmallows? Is it supposed to rain?

Leland is survived by his wife, Merna; their three children, Jim (Sharon), Joan (Jimmy) and Kevin (Lisa); six grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren; one great-great- grandchild; and many nieces and nephews.

Leland was predeceased by his parents, Emil and Anna; and his seven siblings, Evelyn, Malinda, John, Genevieve, Ethel, Elmer, and Eleanore.

The family would like to thank two of Leland's granddaughters, Kate Hedgers and Krisi Singh, for their kindness and love while caring for Grandpa during his time in hospice, and for Grandma while she navigates these much longer and lonelier days. We honestly don't know how we would have survived this difficult part of life without the both of you.

We also want to thank the Hernandez family for never-wavering love throughout many years. Cathy, Felipe, Daisy and Coby were never just neighbors, they were family.

At Leland's request, no service will take place.


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