Joe Graber was born in Watertown , Tennessee , the middle son of a Southern Baptist preacher. As an itinerate preacher his home was never more than a few years in any one place around the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee . Eventually his family settled for his teenage years in Ashland , Kentucky where his parents would live until they died. The richness of those hills fed his desire for aesthetic beauty, while the caring wisdom and love of God helped shape both his desire to learn a little bit about everything and everyone. In his early years he followed in his father's footsteps and was ordained in a little Baptist Church as a Youth Evangelist. His questioning heart led him to a relationship first with the world of Theater Arts and later to build a spiritual foundation within the United Methodist Church .
He received his Bachelor from Georgetown College Kentucky ; Masters of Fine Arts from Case Western Reserve. His accomplishments in the fine arts include: Managing Director Shreveport Symphony; Organizer (with Tom Chaney) Horse Cave Repertory Company; Professor at Centenary College, Union University; University of W. Virginia; and Simpson College, where he became Chairman of the Theater Department and later chief Fundraiser for the College. This exhausting schedule of pursuits left him eventually burnt out by the hectic schedule. He then returned to Shreveport , studied for and then received his certification in Group Life and Health Insurance, and other certifications leading to his becoming a chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Life Underwriter and a Vice President of AMI Insurance. In other pursuits Joe never lost his love for the arts and music. In fact this love was central to his meeting and marrying his wife, Cindy. He also chaired the St. Francis Group at the KOALA Club for 20 plus years investing time, money and energy in the recovery process of individuals with addiction issues.
Joe died in Harlingen , Texas and was preceded in death by his parents George G. and Virginia Graber, his granddaughter Rachael Jean Katz and soon afterwards his brother Garnel “Gene” Graber. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Rev. Cindy M. Graber; Gene's wife, Judi; his brother Glen Graber and his wife Caroline; his children, Linda M. Graber, John W. Graber and wife Mary, Mandy W. Katz and husband Ray; granddaughter Erika K. McBee and husband James; Grandson William Graber and great-grandson Jakob Mcbee.
|Source: Louisiana Conference Journal, 2009|