Traverse City Record-Eagle


March 24, 2013

John Gilmore Griffin Died March 19, 2013

TRAVERSE CITY — John Gilmore Griffin died at home on March 19, 2013. He was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Sept. 4, 1920, the son of Sydney Herbert and Ethel Greene Griffin. He moved with his family at an early age to Montreal, where he was educated, then entered the insurance business.

During the Second World War, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Artillery of the Canadian Army. He was promoted, then commissioned and went overseas where he was posted to the field artillery of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. He served in Britain, went to France in 1944, and served in Northwest Europe, taking part in every action in which his regiment was engaged until the war ended; during this time he was promoted to captain.

He married Beatrice Elizabeth Percy, of Montreal, on June 5, 1948.

The insurance business took him to several Ontario cities before he came to Traverse City in 1959 to establish a property insurance facility for Lake States Mutual Insurance Company, then named Michigan Mutual Auto Insurance Company, which enabled it to become a multiple lines insurer. He remained with the company until he retired in 1985, then joined his wife at Arnold’s Books, Antiquarian Booksellers, of Traverse City, which they sold in 1991.

He is survived by his beloved family: elder daughter, Beatrice Anne, and her husband, Edmond Louis Papantonio, of Ossining, N.Y.; younger daughter, Jean, and her husband, Donald Malcolm Kerr, of Larchmont, N.Y.; and five grandchildren, Sarah Kerr, of Boston, Hilary and Juliet Papantonio, Abigail and Peter Kerr, all of New York City; a sister, Eleanor Henry, in Peterborough, Ontario; a brother, Sydney, in Toronto; and several nieces and nephews.

Cremation has been arranged by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held in the future with time and place to be announced at a later date.

Memorials may be sent to the hospice at Munson Healthcare in Traverse City.

Kindly sign John’s online guestbook at

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