Juan D. “Chief” Graciano
December 5, 1945 - October 15, 2019
Juan D. “Chief” Graciano, age 73, of Middletown, DE, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, surrounded by his loving family and his pack, Duke, Gibbs, Zazzie and Miki.
Born in San Antonio, TX on December 5, 1945, he was the son of the late Julio Graciano and Lorena Graciano Thompson. Chief enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 17 in 1963. Chief was a graduate of the University of Vietnam (as he referred to it) and was for a period of time, the youngest Sergeant in the Marine Corps, while stationed in Da Nang in 1964. After returning home to Delaware in 1968 he went to work for DuPont Co., retiring after 36 years, and much travel from his sales position and expertise of waste water operations.
Chief was a member of Brandywine Hundred Fire Co. for more than 10 years. Chief loved the game of baseball and played for the DE Indians, DE Titans and the Highway Inn. Passing on his passion for the sport, Chief coached his children’s softball and baseball teams, always having a whistle in his mouth, a ball in his hand and a smile on his face. Chief was a Master Mason and a member of Oriental #27 and a Nur Temple Shriner, where he achieved “Director” and was a member of the Mini Choppers until he wrecked “one too many times”. However, Chief’s love of the Marine Corps led him to the Marine Corps League (MCL), where he was a Life Member of the Central DE Detachment. From there he was elected Detachment Commandant, Department of Delaware Commandant and finally, elected National Vice Commandant, Mid-East Division. Chief was able to travel for over 10 years helping to make a difference in the Marines who shipped out especially wounded warriors when they returned home. Chief would eventually start his unit; First State Young Marines. While forming his unit, he finally met his future wife Teri who had her own New Castle County Young Marines Unit. And the competition was on.
Chief is survived by his wife, Theresa Wilds Graciano; daughter, Lorena (Glen); sons, Anthony (Laurie), Justin (Kristin) and Tyler; 6 grandchildren, Joseph, Laniece, Lauren, Hunter, Rachel and Kamerin; and 5 great grandchildren, Jonathan, Sophie, Kyle, Brianna and Mason. Chief’s grandson, SPC Hunter Graciano will be unable to return from active duty while defending the United States of America in Operation Inherit Resolve. He is an invaluable member of Bravo Company, 1st of the 24th, 25th Infantry Division, United States Army currently deployed to Iraq.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10:30 am until 11:30 am on Monday, October 28, 2019, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 275 East Main Street, Middletown, DE, where a memorial service will begin at 11:30 am. Interment will follow in Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 2465 Chesapeake City Road, Bear, DE.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to their favorite charity: National Pyrenees Rescue, www.nationalpyr.org/make-a-donation.com