1927 Lillian Graef Killing Still Haunts Milwaukee

Treasured Lives

By Joe Hanneman
©2016 Treasured Lives

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin —Lillian G. Graef’s infectious smile and carefree demeanor belied the troubles she’d seen in her 19 years. Her 47-year-old mother, Mary, died of tuberculosis in January 1922 when Lillian was just 14. Her sister, Adeline, died in July 1921 of the same disease. The family’s oldest girl, Marie, became a surrogate mother to the rest of the children for a number of years until she too, was diagnosed with tuberculosis and forced into a sanitarium.

A graduate of SS Peter and Paul Catholic School, Lillian had a good job at a Third Street candy shop where she was a popular employee. Her best friend was Frances Platt. From the days they played with dolls together to more recent times when they borrowed each other’s clothes, Lillian and Frances were inseparable. They went to dances and movies together, and spent countless hours at…

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