Friday, July 02, 2010


For those of you who might not know, my Nana died this week.

This incredible woman decided to tell her own story while she was alive, rather than allowing anyone else to do it after she died. So rather than trying to do it for her, I'm going to show you what she wrote about herself. I'll miss you, Nana.


Dorothy Thomas Griffin, 86, passed away on June 30, 2010. She was born in Morgantown, West Virginia on February 15, 1924 to Mr. Joseph Thomas and Mrs. Mary Soohey Thomas. The family moved to Crownpoint, Indiana where she graduated from Merrillville High School and Gary College.

During World War II, Mrs. Griffin worked in a steel plant in Gary, Indiana while her five brothers served in all three branches of the military. She wanted to join the Women’s Air Force and ferry planes for the Air Force (having already qualified for a private pilot’s license). Before she could qualify, the WAF’s were disbanded, so she spent the next two years barnstorming coast to coast in her Aeronica L3B. It was during this time that she met her husband, Dr. William Robert Griffin of Sylvania, Georgia, while he was being mustered out of the army in San Antonio, Texas at the end of the war. They eventually settled in Savannah, where Dr. Griffin opened his chiropractic practice. When Dr. Griffin died in 1972, she finished raising their four children who varied in age from first grade to the sophomore year of college, putting them all through college. She worked for eight years as administrative secretary for attorney Edward H. Lee at the firm Lee and Clark. Then she worked as the property administrator for the Society of the Cincinnati for the Alida Harper Fowlkes estate for eighteen years.

Dorothy, or Dot, as she was also called, was a member of Independent Presbyterian Church for many years, where she taught the Genesis Circle, then the Tuesday Morning Circle and the Van Puffelen Sunday School Class. She enjoyed memberships in the Savannah Art Club, the Savannah Gold Club, and the Groveland Garden Club (through which she taught flower arranging). Her interests were flying, swimming, golf, painting, and foreign travel.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. William R. Griffin, and her daughter, Donna Marie Griffin. She is survived by her other three children and their spouses: Victoria “Vicky” Griffin Patton and husband Dr. Henry M. Patton of Covington, Georgia, Crystal R. Griffin and husband Mr. Michael Wise of Venice, California, and Mr. William “Bill” R. Griffin and wife Kim of Savannah. Dorothy also had six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren: Dr. Jonathan Patton, wife Lisa and their children Tyler, Madeline, Anna Kate, and Violet all of Atlanta, Georgia; Mrs. Kristen Patton Sagar, husband Dr. James Sagar and their daughter Elizabeth Anne of St. Louis, Missouri; Mr. Jordan Patton and wife Sarah of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Meghan Patton McFarlin and husband Mr. Thomas McFarlin IV of Suwanee, Georgia; Mr. Joseph Wise of Venice, California; and Mr. Billy Griffin of Savannah.

Visitation will be held on Friday, July 2, 2010 from 6pm to 8pm at Gamble Funeral Home on Stephenson Avenue in Savannah. Burial will be on July 3, 2010 at 10:30am at the Sylvania City Cemetery in Sylvania, GA followed by a memorial service at 1:00 pm at Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah.

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