He was born in Baring Missouri in Knox County on September 29, 1931, the third child of Jess R. Gragg and Violet Marie Hudnut.
Victor is survived by his wife Norma and his two sons and daughters-in-law, Steven and Marcie, and Stanton and Robyn. He has four grandsons: Austin, Joshua, Zachary and Jacob, all of Independence. He has two granddaughters: Jessi Rodriguez and husband Dustin of Nashville TN, and Hannah Gragg, of Lone Jack, MO.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings, Ramona Cottrell and James Gragg.
As a young man growing up in LaGrange, MO, Vic excelled in sports: track and field events, pole-vaulting, baseball, and basketball. His high school basketball team made the state tournament in 1950, losing the championship game. While a freshman in high school, he fell in love with Norma Cox. They were married in 1952 and celebrated their 62nd anniversary last March.
He earned a basketball scholarship to Culver-Stockton College. There, Vic was an outstanding basketball player, earning a starting line-up position his freshman year. In his Junior and senior years he made the MCAU All-Conference Team and was named Hon. Mention All-American in the NAIB in his senior year. After college, he served 2 years in the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon, Augusta Georgia.
His career was spent in Education in Missouri, beginning as a teacher in Kahoka in 1956. In the span of three short years, he was a teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools in his home town, making him the youngest superintendent in Missouri. He was later named Lewis County C-1 Superintendent and was instrumental in the construction of Highland High school, bringing four school districts together.
In 1970, he was named Superintendent of Schools of the Fort Osage R-1 District, where he served for 19 years. Vic held memberships in the Missouri State Teachers Association, Missouri Association of School Administrators, American Association of School Administrators and National Organization for Legal Problems in Education. He earned his doctorate in education from the University of Missouri in 1975. His doctoral thesis advised the State Attorney General in his Opinion on the legality of student fees in Missouri. Vic shared his knowledge by teaching graduate courses for Central Missouri University and UMKC. He was Superintendent of the year and awarded the selective Robert Pearce Award in 1989.
After retirement, Vic was hired as a State Supervisor of Instruction for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He was a member of Board of Trustees for Mid-Continent Public Libraries and served as its president. Vic was also the President of the Missouri Library Association, 2004-2005, and received the Virginia Young Outstanding Service Award. Appointed trustee for the Missouri Local Government Employee’s Retirement System (LAGERS) for 10 years, he served a term as its Chairman.
Vic also loved his church. He was a Deacon, Sunday School teacher, usher, member of many committees, and faithful attendee at Susquehanna Baptist Church in Independence for nearly 45 years.
In spite of all his career accomplishments, Vic’s greatest joy and passion was in Norma and his family. Whether shooting hoops in the backyard, tending the BBQ grill, or making home-made ice cream, Vic enjoyed the love, fellowship, and laughter of his family most. His devotion to Norma knew no bounds even to his last days. Each Christmas Eve he would read the Christmas Story from his Bible and relish in the gathering of his sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. For many years, Vic would gather Steve, Stan, and their families for a weekend at Osage Beach. Spring brought March Madness and friendly steak dinner bets with Steve, Marcie, and Norma. July 4 celebrations at Stan and Robyn’s home saw Vic lighting fireworks and laughing with joy. His family will treasure the memories of his love, generosity, and amazing example of Christian living.
Visitation was 6 – 8:00 pm Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014 at Speaks Suburban Chapel, 18020 E. 39th St. Independence, MO. Funeral Services was 10am, Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 at the Chapel. Burial in New Salem Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Victor D. Gragg Scholarship fund at the Fort Osage School District, as educating tomorrow’s leaders was a lifelong passion. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.speakschapel.com.