FALMOUTH – Wayne Graffam, a retired delivery driver for the former Charles Chase Co. in South Portland, who had a passion for life and lived it to its fullest, died unexpectedly on Sunday. He was 47.

Mr. Graffam was remembered by his family on Thursday as a devoted husband and dedicated father, who always put his family first.

His wife, Peggy Graffam, spoke with pride and sadness Thursday about their 24-year marriage and the life they built together with their two children.

He grew up on Middle Street in Portland, the second youngest of 11 children. His father died when he was 12 years old.

Peggy Graffam grew up in Cumberland and was also from a large family.

The couple met when they were teenagers. She remembered the football jersey he was wearing and how talkative he was. She said there was an instant connection.

“We both came from kind of poor backgrounds and were looking for the same things in life,” his wife said.

Mr. Graffam and his wife built a modest home in Falmouth, where they raised their children. He worked for the former Charles Chase Co. in South Portland for 20 years or so. He delivered drywall to construction sites across southern Maine. He retired two years ago after the company went out of business. His wife said he enjoyed being on the road and meeting new people.

Mr. Graffam lived a simple and modest life and was more than happy, his wife said. She said they enjoyed traveling throughout New England, taking day-trips along the Maine coast and driving through the White Mountains. He enjoyed simple things such as going to the batting cages at Funtown Splashtown USA in Saco and to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough.

“We had a wonderful life,” his wife said. “We were best friends. We did everything together. … He seized the day, always. He didn’t let an opportunity go by to enjoy life.”

His 22-year-old son, Casey Graffam, also spoke Thursday about the relationship he had with his dad. They had grown closer in the past few years, talking more seriously about the course of the younger Graffam’s life.

“To me, he was an ideal father,” he said. “He was the type that would go out of the way to make sure that (we) were safe, comfortable and protected. My dad always made enough room in his life for my sister and I to spend quality time together. His family came first before anything else.”

On the night before he died, Mr. Graffam worked late on his Chevy Blazer that he planned to drive this winter. He saw his son just before he went to bed. Mr. Graffam suffered a heart attack and died in his sleep.

“He told Casey that he was looking forward to a good night’s sleep,” his wife said. “That’s one of the things that we find comfort in — that he fell asleep. As sad as we are, we want so badly to remember him and share with the world what a wonderful, compassionate man he was. He was incredible. He had a gift for life and a passion to be the best dad and husband. And he was.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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