James R. Griffin

August 15, 2023
James R. Griffin

Gifts & Memorial Donations

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.

Memorial Service

Saturday, August 19, 2023
2:30 PM

St. Stephen Lutheran Church - Directions
612 Jamestown Road
Williamsburg, Virginia 23185

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  • August 23, 2023
    Susan Spellman says:
    To the Family/Friends of Mr. Griffin: To love someone and then see them go is a most difficult thing. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Griffin in life BUT THANK YOU for the wonderful/joyful description of the pleasure he left everyone. The “Life’s Important Lessons” are now in my daily journal. Hoping moments of peace and comfort come to your hurting heart.

  • August 18, 2023
    Vicki Brown says:
    Griff had such enthusiasm for absolutely everything in life! I can still hear him shouting "Hello Vicki!" every single time I came to his house. And then he'd commence telling me about his horses or the latest tidbit of knowledge he'd picked up somewhere along the way. And oh, how he loved to debate politics! No matter my opinion, I could always count on him to take the opposite side. I once asked Cheryl if he really believed the things he was saying and her response was no, he just enjoyed getting people all riled up. Griff had such pride and love in his family and especially for Cheryl. In pictures of just the two of them, he is always looking at her with absolute adoration. I don't know how many times throughout the years he told me how lucky he was that "this amazing woman" had agreed to marry him. Griff was also the ultimate optimist. His newest colt was always destined to run in the Kentucky Derby, or his latest investment was going to make a fortune. I never met a man who got so much enjoyment out of just going out into his back yard and digging a hole. A typical Griff story: When I was in labor with my oldest child, Nate, my obstetrician wanted me to get to the hospital right away. My husband Larry was at work 45 minutes away and didn't answer his phone, so I called Cheryl. She sent Griff, who cheerfully and carefully drove me to the hospital. He deposited me at the valet entrance, asked if I wanted him to come in with me and when I told him I was fine, he happily drove off. Cheryl was scandalized. Griff and I thought it made perfect sense. Griff, you will be missed but you leave behind a legacy in your family and in the fond memories of your friends.

  • August 17, 2023
    Sue Plevelich says:
    I am honored and blessed to have known Griff! From day one of meeting Griff, I knew I had to be on my toes at all times to keep up. He was an amazing man full of knowledge and the love he had for Cheryl and the family. My favorite memory was his horse 🐎 was racing at Charlestown and I happened to be there with a friend, he said if the horse wins, ya'll can go to the winners circle too. Just the offer of that showed what a man he was, caring, loving and good hearted. YOU WILL BE MISSED!!!

  • August 17, 2023
    Mary Niemeyer says:
    So very sorry for your loss. I remember him and your family from St. Mark’s in Huntsville.

  • August 17, 2023
    Rene Moore says:
    What a great man you were. You loved your family and friends. I will miss your emails. I will really miss your friendship. Godspeed. Your friend, Rene Moore