Frank DeGraff was an affable fellow who students and faculty colleagues took a liking to. After serving a stretch as a math teacher, he spent the last 19 years of his career as the assistant principal at J. Taylor Finley Junior High School before retiring in June 1984. He recently passed away at 90 years old.
Born March 7, 1927 in Jamaica, New York, Frank William DeGraff graduated from Woodmere High School in June 1945 before heading off to serve in the US Army infantry during the final months of World War II.
Mr. DeGraff earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in education at Cortland State Teachers College. He taught math and science at Robert K. Toaz Junior High School from 1953-59. He later simultaneously served as the Toaz math department chairman and the Huntington School District’s director of adult education from 1959 to 1965.
Retired Finley Assistant Principal
Frank DeGraff passed away at 90.
After spending the first half of his career at Toaz, which when it opened in September 1939 was the first junior high school in Suffolk County, Mr. DeGraff became Finley’s assistant principal, effective July 1965. He remained in the post until he retired.
An enthusiastic outdoorsman, Mr. DeGraff took delight in skiing, biking and playing golf and tennis. He was known as a fun-loving and selfless family man with a big heart.
During his years at Finley he always wore a sharp looking suit to work. Mr. DeGraff moved effortlessly around the building, which at one time or another included grades 6-9. He could be found all over the school and developed strong relationships with teachers and students.
Mr. DeGraff even coached the Falcons’ tennis team, notching an undefeated season late in his career. A banner celebrating the perfect campaign still hangs in the Finley gym.
The retired educator spent the past 33 years traveling extensively around the country and throughout the world. Mr. DeGraff enjoyed reading and painting, spending the winter skiing in the Adirondacks and the summer here in Long Island. He enjoyed dancing with his wife at weddings and at any event that featured a dance floor.
He was known to lead hikes and bike rides and even ran in the Great Cow Harbor 10K run and turkey trot road race when he was 89 years old. He stayed active in the Northport Tennis Club throughout his life.
Mr. DeGraff turned out for several events in the Huntington School District in recent years, including the dedication of Jack Abrams School, which was named for a good friend he taught with in the district.
The retired Huntington faculty member leaves behind his wife of 64 years, Barbara, two daughters, four grandchildren and three great-children.