Traverse City Record-Eagle


November 23, 2013

Gary H. Griffiths

CLEVELAND TOWNSHIP — Gary “Griff” Halson Griffiths, 84, of Leelanau and Oakland counties, was reunited with late wife and love of his life, Barbara Waller Griffiths, on Nov. 15.

Recently best known as a patient and innovative ski instructor, Griff was also a progressive professor of industrial design at Auburn University, an automobile designer for Chrysler and Ford, church builder, community builder, jitterbug-contest winner, jazz enthusiast, civil rights supporter in the segregated south, prankster, painter, photographer, automobile and sailboat racer and baseball coach.

He served honorably as a Wolfhound during the Korean War, an experience that profoundly shaped his understanding of the human condition.

He is especially mourned by his children, to whom he gave sage counsel in late night conversations and hours-long telephone calls, offered capacious love, compassion and forgiveness across all our stages of growth and the miles that rose up between us.

He will be best remembered for his ability to tell a good story. He will live on through those stories, each of us a thread of the many winding yarns he spun for us, to us and about us - yarns which formed our character, shaped our senses of humor and developed our appreciation for a complexly-layered world in which we each have a story to tell.

Gary is survived by his children, Robin (Don) Gibbin, Cindy Drummond, Carron (Tim) Edington, Brett Griffiths (Sebastian Zoellner), Christopher (Mary Ann Kaylor) Griffiths and Timothy (Garen Nigon) Griffiths; grandchildren, Charlotte and Elizabeth Gibbin, Ashley (Brian) Bowen, Amanda Steele, Aaron and Raphael Zoellner; and a single great-grandson, Brycen Bowen.

To celebrate Gary’s life a memorial “Torchlight Ski Run” will be held at the Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor on Jan. 3, 2014, at 7 p.m., followed by a small, casual reception. Please RSVP by contacting the family directly or follow the link at

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