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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

GRAAS, Vincent

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Photo courtesy: Alan Graas/Susan Marie Graas MCKEEVER
Vincent Graas is shown holding his saxophone. To his right is Vincent Chewning. Photo courtesy: Alan Graas/Susan Marie Graas MCKEEVER
Vincent Graas is the violinist on the left and Vincent Chewning is on the right. Photo courtesy: Alan Graas/Susan Marie Graas MCKEEVER
GRAAS, Vincent. (Dubuque, IA, June 2, 1913--Santa Ana, CA, Nov. 25, 2001). Vincent Graas was the son of Susan Marie APEL and the brother of famed musician, John GRAAS.

Vincent began to play saxophone in the Boy’s Club band, directed by his mother’s cousin, Vincent CHEWNING. He continued to play various instruments through his teen years. Then, as an adult, he played violin and saxophone with LUKE RITZ AND HIS ORCHESTRA and woodwind instruments with the orchestra of Raymond ALDERSON. He toured with the Wayne King orchestra for several years playing all the reed instruments.

After many years on the road, Vincent left music and pursued a career in design engineering. Having dropped out of high school, he faced years of correspondence courses before receiving his diploma.

Working for many large manufacturing firms, Vincent designed the hydraulics for the B-52 landing gear, the first automated meat slicer, and the first machine to fill Hostess Twinkie snacks. He helped obtain hundreds of patents. Vincent's last employer was Beckman Instruments in southern California. There he helped develop the tiles for the Space Shuttle with a staff including many PhD engineers.



Alan Graas, son of Vincent Graas

Susan Marie Graas MCKEEVER