James Griffin, more commonly known as Ranny, J.R., Griff, Smokey, or Old Gringo, along with other names not suited to print, was born on March 28, 1938, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. But his favorite name was, “Pa.” He died on August 15 at home the way he lived, with the TV on at a volume of 45 and the kitchen cabinet doors open.
Griff had as many various professional endeavors as he did names. His career path included being a dairy farmer, avid horseman, bull rider, serving in the United States Air Force for 22 years and retiring as Lt. Col, working as a Program Manager. He subsequently served people as a Financial Advisor for Thrivent. He ultimately found his true and best calling as a grandfather.
Griff valued education, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from NC State and went on to attain a Masters Degree in Program Management from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Additionally, he obtained Financial Licensure through AAL, rising to excel in his field.
Griff was preceded in death by his parents, James R. Griffin, Sr. and Josephine Crusenberry Griffin, as well as his sister JoLyn Doughtie and niece Bonnie Jo Doughtie. His surviving loved ones include his beloved wife, Cheryl Ann Griffin, and their children: Benjamin Randolph Griffin, Michael Griffin (Joanna), Kelly Lyn McCann (Peter), William Randolph Griffin (Erin), and his dog George. He taught his wife and children life’s most important lessons: When given a choice, take both. Moderation is for monks. More is better. Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story. The enemy of good is better.
He is also survived by his adoring sisters, Bonnie “Bunny” Barnes and Betsy Fletcher, his loving sister-in-law, Karin Rosenberg, his friend and first wife, Sandra Hanson, along with many nieces and nephews. Griff’s legacy extends to his cherished grandchildren: Jonathan Randolph Griffin, Joshua Bohdan Griffin, Ella Grace Griffin McCann, Haddie Rose McCann, Ava James McCann, Victoria Lane Griffin, and TBD Griffin. More is better.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 19, at 2:30 p.m. at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, located at 612 Jamestown Road in Williamsburg, VA. All who wish to honor Griff’s memory are welcome to attend. Those who want to curse him, please stay home.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Habitat for Humanity. Griff held a deep appreciation for the importance of providing safe and affordable housing for those in need, and supporting this cause would be a fitting tribute to his compassionate spirit.
Griff will be remembered as being full of humor, among other things, and having the biggest Christmas tree in the neighborhood. More is better.
St. Stephen Lutheran Church - Directions
612 Jamestown Road
Williamsburg, Virginia 23185