Deacon Albert Graff, who turned 102 Jan. 23, explains the secret to his longevity in two words: “Never retire.”
An engineer by profession, he had scarcely retired after 25 years at General Atomics when he began his more than 30 years of ministry as a permanent deacon.
“I retired from General Atomics in April of 1983 and was ordained a deacon in May of 1983,” said Deacon Graff, who ministered to the St. James-St. Leo Catholic Community in Solana Beach, 22 miles north of San Diego.
He continued in active ministry well into his 90s, retiring for good only after suffering a stroke five years ago. He still attends Mass at the parish, including Friday school Masses.
Born in North Dakota, Deacon Graff grew up in Los Angeles, where he attended Catholic schools through high school.