At age 102, California deacon’s motto remains ‘never retire’

Deacon Albert Graff, who turned 102 on 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.

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