Bart James Graff
01/29/2020

St. George, Utah – The world lost a classic “truck driving man” this week, as Bart James Graff, 87, passed away January 29, 2020, surrounded by loving family.

Bart was born in St. George, Utah, August 5, 1932, to Clyde and Catherine Andrus Graff.  Bart, one of five children, was a hard-working, strong and unassuming child, and he would continue in that tradition through most of his life.  He was a simple yet complex man who was quiet one day and outspoken the next, and like any respectable trucker he loved his family, his country, country music, hamburgers, and sports.

It’s said that the men and women of Bart’s era are “The Greatest Generation”, who labor hard, sacrifice willingly and stoically accept life’s hardships while trying to make the world better for others, and Bart most certainly fit that mold.  Bart did what he had to, sought no glory, and accepted life’s challenges with a shrug, saying ‘too damn bad.”

Bart began driving truck for his uncle Reed Graff even before graduating from Dixie High School, then labored for his beloved country in the Korean War, driving truck for the Army in Okinawa and a Jeep for the Officer in Ft. Belvoir.

When Bart returned to the states, a strong and quiet, dark haired and handsome young man, he caught the eye of Teddy Sue Seegmiller, the love of his life, and they were wed February 11th, 1956 in St George, Utah.  Even though his family had moved to Las Vegas, he returned to the red dirt of Dixie; the place he called home.

Bart farmed in St. George for many years to provide for the family he and Teddy began but eventually went back to trucking, driving for Parke Cox, and Mac Reber eventually starting his own trucking company, Farmers Distributing.

He was adept in all aspects of the business, and could slide under a truck to make repairs, man the phones to solicit loads or dispatch drivers, or hop in the cab and hit the road.  He did whatever needed to be done, and his reputation for honesty, efficiency was well earned.

During those years Bart mentored many young men, giving them employment and teaching them how to work, and work hard.  Bart was a giving and generous man, though he never bragged or advertised his many acts of quiet kindness.  He never held back on a chance to tease, though, and he kept people humble by reminding them when they were a “doof.”

As his children grew to adulthood and he drove truck less often, Bart got to focus on enjoying his family more, and nothing brightened his life more than his grandkids. Bart alternately teased them, played with them, taught them to work, and sometimes taught them salty phrases that they laugh over to this day.

During this time Bart got to indulge his love of sports, and he and Teddy attended every home (and quite a few away) games of the Dixie College football and basketball programs.  During a ball game, quiet Bart became outspoken and animated, generously shouting much opinion and advice to the players and coaches.

Not all of them always appreciated his wise counsel, but his ardent involvement surely made the game enjoyable for those sitting near him.  He was once and ever a proud Dixie Rebel, and he never entirely forgave the college for abandoning that name.

His passion for Dixie sports paled in comparison to his passion for the Utah Jazz.  He loved seeing games live and hated to ever miss a game on TV regularly taping so he could watch it again.  This devotion continued to the very end of his life.

As Bart neared retirement, he had the opportunity to begin travelling more with Teddy and their friends, to places like Branson, Hawaii, and Europe but specially to see his grandkids and his Jazz games and taking Teddy to the dump.

Heart disease began to affect Bart in his 50s, and though he hated to slow down, he rarely complained.  Bart made the best of his slower pace by spending more time with his grandkids, serving his beloved Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a temple worker, and spending more time with his wife even though it may mean separate rooms because their choices in TV shows was rarely compatible.

While Bart’s heart disease responded well to surgeries, stents, and lifestyle choices, his kidneys declined in his final years, severely curtailing his activities.  Bart was in a lot of discomfort much of the time, though he still faithfully watched the Jazz and with Teddy, babysat his great grandchildren when possible.

It was in these difficult and final years that Bart became most outspoken about his love of family, his testimony of his church, and his pride in his family.  All of his life was spent being strong, working hard and serving, and it could not have been easy to become weaker and more dependent on others, but Bart handled his declining health with humor, gratitude and graciousness, knowing his stalwart backup was Teddy.

In his final moments, as the grandkids sang his favorite Willie Nelson song “Turn Out the Lights, The Party’s Over,” he seemed to sing along.

Bart is survived by his beloved wife Teddy Sue and children James Gregory of Anderson Junction; Thomas (Sandi) of St. George, Utah; and Gretchen (Doug) Glendenning of St. George, Utah.  Brothers Scott (Shirley) of Walnut Creek, California and Mike (Elizabeth) of Salt Lake City and Paris, France.  Grandchildren Courtney, Missy, Alexandra, Matt, Geoff, Gabriella and Maggie, and great grandchildren Katie, Logan, Linley, Reese, Price, Emerson, Ozzy, Blakely and Harris.

He is preceded in death by parents Clyde and Catherine Graff; brother Dale; sister Gai ; daughter-in-law Vicki and brother in law Kay; granddaughter Krystal.

Viewings will be Friday, February 7, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, and a viewing Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. prior to his services. A Celebration of Life will be February 8, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St James Chapel, 1095 St James Lane, St George, Utah; Interment will be in the St George City Cemetery.

Arrangements under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff St., St. George, Utah, (435) 673-2454.

Services

Visitation

6:00 to 8:00 pm at Spilsbury Mortuary
20200207

Second Visitation

9:00 to 10:30 am at the Chapel
20200208

Services

11:00 a.m.
20200208

Address

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
St James Chapel
1095 St James Lane
St. George, UT

Cemetery

St George City Cemetery

Guest Book

11 Responses

  1. Teddy and family — I will be in California tending grandkids when you have Bart’s funeral and viewing and I am so sad to miss it. I loved Bart. He and I had great times in the temple when we were at the front desk together. I have known Bart ever since he and teddy hid out in our house to keep from getting separated on their wedding night. You have all been friends for all these years and I love your entire family. You are products of great parents and grandparents on both sides. I wish you all the best as you lay your husband and dad to rest. My love and sincere condolences. I am doubly sad I can’t be there to give you all a hug and see your faces in person. May God bless you all and especially Teddy Sue. Love you all. Maureen

  2. Prayers for the family and their loss at this time.
    Sorry to read of Bart’s passing, he gave my wife and I our first job at driving truck
    with Farmers Distributing. Some great memories.

  3. We send our love to dear Teddy Sue, Gretchen, the boys, and all the grandchildren. We learned to love and respect the great Graaff family when we moved back to St. George after many years of living away. Please know that we love and miss you all. God bless you each one.

    Neldon (Ned) and Rula Jean Snow Williams

  4. Teddy Sue, we wish to send our love and prayers for your peace of mind at this time. Clayton and Sharon

  5. Teddy Sue,
    There is not much one can say at this time but my regret for your loss and offer any help you may need.

  6. Sorry for the loss of a great man, the world may be a little dimmer but heaven is a whole lot brighter, may God bless the family in the love, mercy and peace of Jesus Christ our Savior Love Darren & Maxine Ence and family

  7. I consider Bart and Teddy Sue part of my extended family. So sad to not have Bart around anymore. My family will miss him.

    Dave Imlay

  8. Dear Tom and Sandi, so sorry for the loss of your father. He was quite a guy! Could tell awesome stories that could captivate your attention with his charm. Sending our sincere condolences.
    Jim will attend the funeral, I’ll be in Tropic for the funeral of my cousin.
    Hugs

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