|Birth: ||Mar. 8, 1921|
|Death: ||Feb. 1, 2013|
US COAST GUARD N ATLANTIC WWII
Bill was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and lived there until he entered military service in WWII (US Coast Guard in service ferrying ships and supplies across the Atlantic to England as part of the Lend-Lease Program, then stationed in the Aleutians near the end of the war).
As a young man, Dad was almost painfully shy, but he always told us he fell in love with my Mother when he first saw her at a USO Canteen dance in Manhattan, NY during a liberty. They dated every night for 2 weeks, then Dad made what he says was the best decision of his life - he enclosed an engagement ring in a letter to her in New York, while he was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Base outside Chicago at the end of the war. She accepted and they were married October 3, 1946.
They shared their lives in Glenview, Illinois; Farmingdale, New York and finally, Melbourne, Florida. Until almost the day Mom died, they went nearly everywhere together and, after 54 years, still held hands in the movies. I can remember Mom bursting into tears one evening when Dad, after a hard day at the office, went upstairs to wash up for dinner before kissing Mom hello. They didn't just love each other; they were in love. We never heard them fight, or fail to be openly affectionate with each other.
Dad used to relate a story he read once in a magazine - a couple goes to a marriage counselor, trying to fix what's wrong with their relationship. The counselor gives them each a sheet of paper and a pen, sits them at opposite ends of a table, and tells them to write down what angers them about the other. The woman writes furiously, looks up at her spouse, writes some more. She sees he's doing the same, which spurs her on. When they're finished, the wife has written a long litany of minor or annoying transgressions on the part of her spouse; the husband has written I Love You, I Love You, I Love you, over and over. That was Dad.
Before my Mother died in 2000, he kept her at home as she wanted, cared for her (with the help of hospice) and held her until the very end. The last words she heard were "I Love You".
He was one of the most forgiving and tolerant people I've ever known, except in the face of injustice, which infuriated him. He wasn't always patient with his 3 kids, for he wouldn't tolerate disrespect or bad behavior, but we knew every moment he loved us unreservedly.
Dad died last night at the age of nearly 92, the last remaining family member of his generation, which I think saddened him so. He had a great life, loved fiercely, smiled often, and just downright enjoyed every day until the last few weeks of his life. At the age of 91 he was flying all over the country visiting the children of his brother, his friends, and his own children. He lived alone, was totally independent, and still drove nearly every day.
Last week he told me he had the best kids in the world. And then he told me he wanted to die, that he wasn't afraid. Though his final days were hard, he chose to end life with dignity and courage, in his own home, with all his children surrounding him. The last words he heard were "I love you".
Dad, we didn't have nearly enough time with you.
February 2, 2013
William Lester Griffiths (1894 - 1967)
Erna Theresa Jensen Griffiths (1899 - 1955)
Maryanne Josephine Giunta Griffiths (1926 - 2000)*
Noelle Lorraine Griffiths Hopper (1949 - ____)*
William Jensen Griffiths (1921 - 2013)
James Noel Griffiths (1924 - 2008)*
Brevard Memorial Park
Plot: Patio Mausoleum - F
Created by: imagal49
Record added: Jan 30, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 104375551