The family of Lila Christine Laubenthal “Chris” Grafton said goodbye to her on March 21 at 91 years of age. She was born in Athens, Ala., to Lila Hayes and Harry Laubenthal.
She graduated from Athens College and worked at the Air Force base in Decatur, Ala. There she met her future husband, Ed, who was stationed as a flight surgeon on base. When he was deployed, she moved to Washington, D.C., and assisted as a secretary and administrative assistant to the founders of Southern Airways, which later became a part of Delta Airlines. She also worked in the office of the secretary of state, Cordell Hull.
After returning from service, Chris and Ed were married in 1946 and moved to his home in Dallas, where they worked together to establish his ophthalmology practice. She ended her work in his office and dedicated herself to raising their three children, the first arriving in 1948. She participated in the Highland Park PTAs and spent many days doing cafeteria duty. She was active in the Dallas County Women’s Auxiliary, enjoyed playing bridge with the Doctors’ Wives group, and was an active golfer and tennis enthusiast at Northwood Club. She also enjoyed fishing, traveling, dove hunting, reading, needlework, and spent many happy years as a charter member of Hidden Hill.
Her faith was deeply rooted and Skillman Avenue Church of Christ, her church since 1947, played a formative role in her time in Dallas. She spent countless hours on the sidelines of numerous sporting events, cheering for her children and grandchildren. The Great Depression and World War II gave Grandma Chris a special elegance, strength and spirit. Her many kindnesses touched her family, friends, and acquaintances.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 58 years, Dr. Edwin G. Grafton and her oldest daughter, Lila Grafton Hanson. She is survived by her son-in-law Ron Hanson and his children David Manley and wife Leslie Hanson, Kathryn Christine and husband Tom Jacks, and Dr. Kristin Ann Hanson; her son Dr. Edwin G. Grafton Jr. and his wife Lu Ann Purnell Grafton; and her daughter and son-in-law Linda and Tom Barton and their children, Scott Grafton, Lila Christine, and Maggie Hayes Barton; and one great-grandchild, Lila Christine Jacks. She is also remembered by her three siblings, Marjorie and husband Ven Mitchell of Montgomery, Ala.; Buddy and wife Barbara Laubenthal of Athens, Ala.; and Jane Bridgeman of Nashville, Tenn., along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Her family would like to thank her housekeeper of 21 years, Maria Martinez, and her special caregiver and companion of the last 7 years, Debbie Wafford, for their loving and tireless care. A Memorial Service and Visitation will be held at the Skillman Avenue Church of Christ Chapel, 3014 Skillman St., at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Her body has been willed to the UT Southwestern Medical School. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Skillman Church of Christ or the charity of your choice.