The Reverend John Duff Griffith
The Reverend John D. Griffith, 86, of Owensboro, died Saturday, November 26, 2016 surrounded by his family. John was born November 20, 1930 in Erie, PA to the late Rev. Ole C. Griffith, Sr. and Ethel Duff Griffith. He was raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA, was a Kentucky Colonel, and worshiped at First Presbyterian Church. John served as an Intelligence Officer, 67th Reconnaissance, Technical Squadron, at Yokoto Air Base, Japan during the Korean Conflict. In the Air Force, John gained his nickname of "Grif"; attained the rank of Captain, supervising Squadron Classified Film Library for five years. While serving in Japan, he felt called to enter the seminary; resigned his commission and entered the Pittsburgh Theology Seminary and was ordained by the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1962. He worked in mission, new church development, Christian Education, and served churches from coast to coast. John retired in Owensboro after serving St. Andrew and Central Presbyterian Churches.
Completing seminary, John was recommissioned as a Chaplain in the United States Navy Reserve, attaining the rank of Captain (06), retiring after 37 years. He served in Newport, RI, Great Lakes Training Center, IL, U.S. Marines Camp Lejune, NC, Marine Training Base, Camp Pendleton, CA, U.S.C.G. Training Center, Cape May, NJ, U.S.C.G. Base, Borinquen, Puerto Rico; Governor's Island, NY, USS John F. Kennedy; USS Forrestal; Chaplain Command Religious Support Group (Reserve Chaplains serving U.S.C.G. Stations in the Continental USA), and U.S.N.R. District Two Command Chaplain, Scotia, NY.
John was active in military reserve, served on numerous committees for the various Presbyteries, and was a PRN Chaplain at Owensboro Medical Health System. He had a warm smile, loved preaching and serving the Lord. He never met a stranger, finding every person unique and interesting. He enjoyed small group work, traveled with the Covenant Players while on the East Coast and enjoyed working with youth.
John and his wife, Frannie, worked tirelessly for Mental Health causes; the reached out to families through Vanderbilt Hospital and Tennessee Voices for Children; served with the National Alliance on mental Illness (NAMI) in KY as officers on the state board and lead the local support group as trained leaders for over 20 years. They also worked with the local police department on Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). John loved history, collecting quotations, spending time with his precious grandson, Matthew, reading, photography, music, the local symphony, singing in the church choir, substitute teaching, reading to elementary students, and listening to jazz and classical music. He loved baseball and followed the Pittsburgh Pirates during his childhood, where he managed to always be "sick" on opening day! He was a Steelers football fan and enjoyed watching college football. He loved to cook and garden, watch sports on television, and spend time with his family at the beach and local parks, often picnicking and enjoying nature. He loved his pets.
John is survived by his beloved wife, Frances Craig Griffith; loving son, Jonathan Griffith, and grandson, Matthew Griffith of Owensboro, daughters, Kara McKinney, Allison Rizak, Cindy Griffith, and Lori Riley; sister, Margaret Mooney; brother, Ole Curtis Griffith, Jr; numerous nieces and nephews; nine grandchildren and one great grandchild. He was preceded in death by an infant son.
Services will be 10:00 A.M. Saturday, December 3, at First Presbyterian Church followed by a reception in Fellowship Hall. Visitation will begin at 9:00 A.M. Saturday at the church. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to the Heartford House, c/o Hospice of Western Kentucky, 3419 Wathens Crossing, Owensboro, KY 42301. Condolences to the family may be placed at www.glennfuneralhome.com.