We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Halbritter Wickens Funeral Services
John William Landgraf, M.D., age 70 of Niles, Michigan, husband, father, brother, physician, mentor, and friend died peacefully at the Hanson Hospice Center in Stevensville, Michigan on Sunday, June 19, 2022 following a battle against pancreatic cancer. His family is grateful for the compassionate care and encouragement of Dr. Javed Malik and the staff of Beacon Cancer Center; and the staff of Caring Circle Hospice at Home.
He was born on June 26, 1951 in Niles to Dr. Robert L and Mary (Kenny) Landgraf, Sr., and was graduated from Niles High School in 1969. He continued his education at the University of Michigan, earning a Bachelors degree in Medical Technology in 1973, and earning his Medical Doctorate – with Honors – in 1978 also at Michigan. He served his Residency in Pathology at the South Bend Medical Foundation from 1978 until 1982 when he was awarded Certification by the American Board of Pathology. In 1981 he began his career as a Medical Staff Pathologist at Pawating Hospital in Niles, and continued to serve its successor, Lakeland Healthcare until 2013. From his office in Niles, he served many years as a Berrien County Medical Examiner’s Deputy. He served as a Staff Pathologist to the South Bend Medical Foundation from 2001 until his retirement in 2018.
John was a lifelong member of the Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Niles beginning with his parents presenting him for Baptism, and then celebrating at Saint Mary’s nearly every important event in his life along with regular weekly worship and Bible study. Through that Bible study, John has recently appreciated Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.”
His devotion to religion, to Catholicism, to Christianity was consistently evident throughout his life. In the hospital lab, the cellular images that he saw in the microscope were wonders of creation, but sometimes presented unfortunate results for the patient. After reporting his findings to the primary care physician, John – and his colleague, Dr. Fred Busse – were often compelled to “go upstairs” to the patient floors and visit personally with those patients, providing additional care, compassion, and encouragement.
His office door was always open to fellow employees of the hospital whom he would also greet in the hallways at their various stations. He found in one of those friends - Dave Cuyler - a common interest in military history, especially World Wars I and II, resulting in visits to gatherings of those with a shared interest, and a bit of associated antiquing.
John’s great gifts of caring and encouragement were clearly focused at home with his family. On April 23, 1977 at Queen of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church in Jackson, Michigan he married the former Anita M. “Chickie” Holda. John and Chickie established a home in Niles, eventually shared with their children, which would be a pleasant, peaceful sanctuary with the welcoming reminder “take a deep breath, you’re home now”. Their son, David earned a degree in golf management, and that career led to a second career in personal finance, which eventually led to earning his Juris Doctorate; while their daughter, Jessica remained focused on early childhood development and education, eventually earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Policy – all successes based on the encouragement and support of their parents and their homebase in Niles. John quietly enjoyed the yardwork, and earned a well-deserved reputation for immaculate and precise lawncare.
In retirement, John and Chickie walked daily for several miles in Niles, and enjoyed riding bicycles, often on the Pumpkinvine Trail in Indiana between Goshen and Shipshewana.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Robert L. Landgraf, Sr., M.D. and Mary C. Landgraf, R.N.; and by a brother-in-law, the Honorable Casper O. “Cap” Grathwohl, retired Berrien County Circuit judge.
Surviving family includes his wife, Chickie Landgraf and their children, David Anson Landgraf, J.D. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Jessica Marie Landgraf, Ph.D. of Lansing, Michigan; John’s siblings, Carolyn “Lynn” (Mrs. Casper) Grathwohl, R.N., Robert L. (& Mary) Landgraf, Jr., J.D., and William R. (& Ann) Landgraf, J.D. all of Niles, and many nieces and nephews; and a remarkable circle of wonderful friends.
The Mass of Christian Burial for John Landgraf will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 24, 2022 at Saint Mary Catholic Church, 203 South Lincoln Avenue in Niles by the Rev. Christian Johnston, with the Rev. John Kiselica of the Archdiocese of Detroit concelebrating, assisted by Deacon Roger Gregorski. Committal Rites will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Niles.
The family will receive relatives and friends on Friday at Saint Mary’s beginning at 9:30 a.m.. Contributions in memory of Dr. Landgraf may be made to Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish, 219 South State Street, Niles, Michigan, 49120, https://stmarysniles.org/; or to the Christian Service Center Food Pantry, also at Saint Mary’s. Arrangements were completed at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Online condolences may be left at:
John’s skill as a physician clearly enhanced and extended the physical lives of many. His spiritual gift of exhortation – encouragement, advice, and comfort – enhanced the souls of many. Romans 8 continues with “ . . . If God is for us, who can be against us? . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? . . . neither death nor life . . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God.” We are comforted to consider that John heard the words “Well done, good and faithful servant”, followed by “take a deep breath, you’re home now.”