Harley 'Griff' Griffith, Jr.

The first time I met GRIFF was when he came to my office (the group department) at Irvine Travel after Jack Irvine died.  The Rotary International Convention was in Birmingham, England that June.  Jack and Jean Irvine had reserved a block of rooms and were planning to lead a group of Rotarians to the Convention and then tour England.   GRIFF did not like to travel (he was tall and found airline and train seating to be most uncomfortable).  But he felt that he must do this for his friends the Irvines and the club.  This was the sort of service he expected of himself.

A couple of years later I served on the Convention and Visitors Bureau Board with GRIFF and became president of the board a few years after he resigned.  Our paths also crossed at Rotary each Tuesday.  There was no way to know at that time that I would follow GRIFF as the Executive Secretary of our Club.  He is a towering presence in my life.

Recently I was looking at a wooded area where green was the predominate color.  However, there were a couple of trees with no leaves.  They had died, but were still standing, continuing to provide many services.   Shelter for insects, food for woodpeckers and a place for other birds to perch come easily to mind.  It made me think of GRIFF.  He put many structures in place – at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, at Purdue’s Department of Continuing Education, and at Rotary.  Although changes at Rotary have been made in the past twelve years, he would recognize most of what the Executive Secretary still does.  GRIFF lives on in our hearts, but also in our institutions.