"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN
Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.
APEL, Susan Marie
Susan's perfect pitch and her musical talent played significant roles in the lives of her sons. John GRAAS became one of the most significant French horn musicians of the twentieth century. When John began formal lessons on the horn, his mother baked two loaves of bread and sent it with him to help pay for his instruction; money was very short. Ferdinand DI TELLA helped to pay for a better French horn for the high school student to replace the one the boy had been using. Vincent GRAAS, another son, played all the reed instruments with the Wayne King orchestra for several years and toured with them. He also performed with LUKE RITZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA. Vincent went on to become an engineer. Both boys received additional musical training in the band sponsored by the DUBUQUE BOYS' CLUB directed by their mother's cousin, Vincent CHEWNING.Susan Marie Graas MCKEEVER, her grandmother was playing the piano ("Roll Out the Barrell") when she had her fatal stroke. Ironically her son, John GRAAS, died while playing his French horn.