Photo of Ingeborg Graff
Ingeborg Elizabeth (Schwed) Graff

Obituary of Ingeborg Elizabeth (Schwed) Graff

December 24, 2023

Ingeborg Elizabeth (Schwed) Graff died peacefully in her sleep on December 24, 2023. She was 102 years and 8 months old, a fact she would have liked everyone to remember. Born in Heidelberg, Germany, on April 20, 1921, to Sigmund and Sophie Schwed, Inge spent her early years strolling along the Neckar River.

As the threat of war in Europe escalated, her father, who was Jewish, sent her elder brother Heinz (1911–1990) to New York City with the hope that the entire family would be able to emigrate. On December 14, 1938, Inge said goodbye to her parents and boarded the SS Manhattan by herself in Hamburg, Germany. She arrived in New York City a week later, where her brother would wait at the docks any time a boat from Europe arrived, hoping to be reunited with his family. Heinz met her off the boat and just a few days later took her to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes, an outing she never forgot. Their parents’ visas were denied and they did not survive the war.

Inge started life in her new country and spent her summers in the country waitressing at both The Balsams in Dixville Notch, NH, and the Mount Washington Hotel, where she worked during the historic Bretton Woods Conference.

Inge married Siegbert “Bert” Graff (1906–1969) on April 11, 1947, and they raised their two children, Sandy and Walter, in Yorkville, New York City. After working a variety of jobs, she embarked on her long and successful career with the New York State Judicial Conference.

Inge was, among many things, an expert Scrabble player with a terrific sense of humor. When she retired, she volunteered at the American Folk Art Museum, at All Souls Unitarian Church, and at the Riverside Church, where she became president of the Tower League. She was also a lifetime member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. She traveled to Russia, to Europe, and to the Great Wall of China, but she always loved to return to New York City, her adopted and much beloved home.

She learned to paint (or schmear, as she would say), got her first cat, and made many friends that she shared adventures with at Morningside Gardens in Manhattan. She took great delight in her “recipes” folder on her kitchen table (containing takeout menus), loved showing off New York to her friends and family, and read The New York Times cover to cover each day until her eyesight began to fail in the last few years of her long and wondrous life.

Inge loved having visits from her family and friends, especially if they came carrying bagels and lox. She delighted in pictures and stories of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and turned 100 with a sense of triumph.  In her final years, she loved and appreciated the caregivers who looked after her with such love and attention.

She is survived by her daughter, Sandy of Arlington, MA, her son Walter and daughter-in-law Ingrid, of Randolph, NH, her grandson, Gabriel and his partner Koali and great-grandchildren Mateo and Eila of Portland, OR, her granddaughter Tasha of Portland, ME, her niece Sheila and husband Paul Trautman of Jewett, NY, her grand-niece Valerie and husband Lance Caffrey, and her three great-grandnephews Ryan, Alex, and Ben. She is predeceased by her husband Bert Graff, her brother Heinz Schwed, and her beloved grand-niece Erika Trautman Raser.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Morningside Retirement & Health Services, Inc.,, or to a charity of your choice. For online condolences, please visit

Share a Memory

The Obituaries are currently being upgraded. Please contact us to report any issues.