Cover photo for Christa Graffius's Obituary
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1966 Christa 2024

Christa Graffius

May 9, 1966 — March 20, 2024

Christa Irene Hargreaves Graffius was born May 9th, 1966 in Cloquet, Minnesota to the Reverend John F. Hargreaves Sr. and Sheila I. Hargreaves. Like many preacher’s kids she and her family moved frequently making stops in Marcus, Iowa and Red Oak, Iowa before the family settled in Omaha, Nebraska. Along the way she did many of the typical kid things taking piano lessons, taking riding lessons, learning martial arts, and being involved in church activities 

In the summer before sixth grade the family vacationed at Lewis and Clark Lake on the Nebraska and South Dakota border.  During this vacation it became obvious that something was not right for Christa as she was exhausted, moody and prone to bruising.  Back home after a few doctor’s visits Christa was diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia. She spent many weeks in Clarkson hospital undergoing cutting edge chemotherapy for her disease with Dr. John Feagler and his team.  

Thankfully, God brought Christa through this time. She came out of the hospital with no hair, some fancy scarfs, and a new appreciation for life. She did not want to just live; she wanted to thrive and serve others.  Christa went on to swim competitively, participate in the Omaha Junior Miss Pageant, and served as the co-captain of the Omaha Northwest High School Flag Team.  By this time she had reached the magical five-year period with normal white blood cell counts and she was considered “cured” of leukemia.  

Christa graduated Omaha Northwest in 1984. She went on to college at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and eventually earned her bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.  Christa chose to prioritize her family over her career and she held many jobs over her life-time.  She held positions in group homes for at risk youth, retail, hospital social work and administration, telemarketing, and served as a supervisor in the local Salvation Army stores. 

In the early part of this century, Christa again began to show signs that something was not quite right with her.  She experienced debilitating headaches and uncoordinated gait due to the experience of drop foot. Time and time again she was sent away from the emergency room undiagnosed.   Eventually finding the right doctor, it was discovered that she had a brain tumor. On the day of surgery, she went in the operating room before sunrise and she was the last patient to leave the OR that day well after sunset.  The amazing neurosurgeon explained that he was not able to remove the entire tumor without risking serious brain injury as some had extended deep into the many brain sinuses.  Thankfully, this tumor was benign. Pressure removed from her brain and spinal cord Christa went on living once again.

Christa met Bob Graffius eventually getting married in 2007 and producing a son, Nathaniel. Nate was considered to be a miracle child by his parents as Christa had been informed she was not likely to have children after her initial rounds of chemotherapy years ago.  Nate became Christa’s life. They could often be found at the zoo together or enjoying the McDonalds play area.  As Nate grew the two loved to go swimming and or fishing together. Christa and Nate were always fun visitors if you were privileged to have them visit your home. 

In late summer 2023, Christa began to have trouble finding words and struggling with her vision. This time a tumor was discovered that was much more ominous than the first.    It was determined to be a grade 4 Glioblastoma; the worst prognosis among brain tumors. After surgery Christa endured many weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments leaving her weak and exhausted.  She went on to suffer blood clots throughout her body including the brain. Her family spent weeks with her in the hospital and eventually the Josie Harper House where she passed quietly in the early morning hours of March 20, 2024 with Bob by her side. 

The Josie Harper House was the same place Christa and Nate watched over their father and grandfather for days as he achieved his final victory, a place in heaven.  The Josie Harper House was also the place Bob’s mother spent her final days before entering heaven.  

Many thanks are owed the staff at Josie Harper House for their efficiency, kindness, and warmth.   Thanks are also owed to Bob’s sister Debbie Graffius for staying by Christa’s side, getting her to appointments, and making sure she had what she needed. Much gratitude is extended to Amanda and Zack for taking in Nate and loving him through this difficult time. 

Christa was preceded in death by her father, John F. Hargreaves, Sr.  She is survived by her mother Sheila Hargreaves, husband Bob Graffius, son Nathaniel Graffius, step children Wes Graffius and Amanda (Zack) Graffius Hansen, granddaughter Kira Napravnik, brothers, Rick (Anne) Hargreaves and Michael (David Bennet) Hargreaves, adopted brother Kevin Hargreaves, step-brother Charlie (Jenn) Couch, many aunts and uncles, and many nieces and nephews. 

To send flowers to the family in memory of Christa Graffius, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Good Shepherd Funeral & Cremation Services - 90th

3809 N 90th St, Omaha, NE 68134

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Funeral Service

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Good Shepherd Funeral & Cremation Services - 90th

3809 N 90th St, Omaha, NE 68134

Get Directions

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