James F. Graft, 72, of Fort Wayne, passed away on Saturday, October 8, 2022, in Columbia City. \n\nJim was born on February 23, 1950, in Fort Wayne to the late Donald and Gaynel “Sue” (Blessing) Graft. He spent his formative years in rural Allen County with his siblings and cousins. He had an early introduction to the dairy industry, playing and working at the Blessings family farm and helping his dad haul bulk milk from area dairy farms. He would later become a partner in Graft Milk Transport with his father and brother. \n\nJim attended Suburban Bethlehem Lutheran School through 8th grade and Concordia Lutheran High School where he met his sweetheart and future wife, Vicki Badenhop. They married in 1970 at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. The family established Royal Hill Swiss Dairy Farm in 1970 also, where they milked Brown Swiss cows until 2001. \n\nJim graduated from I.U. Ft. Wayne in 1971 and began his teaching career at Aboite Elementary School. He later taught for 18 years at Arcola Elementary School, finishing his teaching career at Maple Creek Middle School. Jim loved working with kids and sharing experiences with his own children and grandchildren. \n\nJim was a member and elder at Southwest Lutheran church. He and Vicki spent many years singing in the choir, tutoring immigrant students, serving on committees and generally loved being part of a church body. \n\nAlong the way, Jim coached girls' basketball at Suburban Bethlehem, Carroll Middle School, Carroll High School and Blackhawk Christian H.S. He also loved watching basketball, whether it was his children or grandchildren playing or Purdue University. After the milk cows were sold, he became more involved with breeding and training quarter horses with his daughters. He was a 10-year 4-H participant and a member of the Brown Swiss Cattle Association and the Quarter Horse Association. \n\nJim is survived by Vicki, his wife of 52 years; his children: Jami (PJ) Steffen, Kelli (Christopher) Moran, Alissa (Ken) Knepple, Kendall (Tyler) Hoffman and Brandon Graft; a sister, Diane (Edward) Mayer; a brother, Donald L. Graft; 16 grandchildren, Timothy, Rebekah, Alex, Joshua, Lydia, Jessa, Isabella, Clara, Aaron Keaton, Luke, Adalynn, Devan, Berlynn, Baden, Holland and Branea; and three nephews, Jeremy, Gregory, and Ian. \n\nIn addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by a son, Aaron Graft on May 8, 2022. \n\nServices will take place at Southwest Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, on Friday, October 14, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. with calling one hour prior to the funeral.\n\nThe family will also receive family and friends at the church on Thursday, October 13, 2022, from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m.\n\nBurial will take place in the Eel River Cemetery, Allen County.\n\nMemorials may be directed to The Crew Life Foundation (Rapheal Davis basketball scholarship fund) or L.A.M.B (Lutheran Agency for Missions to Burmese)\n\nSheets & Childs Funeral Home has been entrusted with these arrangements.