WARREN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – The Reverend Doctor John Henry Griffith, age 91, went home to be with his Lord on Monday, October 9, 2023. He somehow received a message that he had four more days. That same night he was taken to the ER and admitted with sepsis infection and internal bleeding.
He was diagnosed three years ago with MDS and dealt with weekly blood transfusions. The nurses in the infusion lab at Trumbull were angels. They took such good care of him, even having a 90th and a 91st birthday party! Two weeks ago, the MDS had progressed to leukemia, and he immediately became much worse and on the fourth day, at 9:58 a.m., he had finished his course.
John was born on September 20, 1932 in Warren, Ohio, the first child of Owen Henry and Mary Jones Griffith. He would later be joined by a brother, George and sister, Geraldine (Gerry).
He was active in high school sports and as a senior, set a scoring record of 38 points in basketball at Howland High School. That was before they had 3-point shots. After graduation in 1950, he received a basketball scholarship to Marshall College in Huntington, West Virginia.
In 1952 he was drafted into the Army and served in the Army Engineering Corps for two years in Korea. He was involved in building the facility at Panmunjom where the prisoners were exchanged and the truce was signed.
He returned home and went back to work at Packard Electric, where they worked with him on working hours to accommodate his college classes at Youngstown College.
In the meantime, on a blind date, he met Janice Alfred. On August 15, 1956, they were married in McKinley Community Church in Warren. They were blessed with two children, David Leigh and Susan Elaine.
John graduated in 1962 from Youngstown College with a Bachelor of Science Degree and started teaching at Leavittsburg High School that fall. He also coached basketball. He went to Westminster College during this time and received his Master’s of Education degree in 1967. He also served as principal at Southington High School and Bristol High School. He finished his career at the Ohio Department of Transportation and, after retiring, took college classes to earn his Doctor of Christian Ministry Degree in 1999. He then spent 19 years as pastor of McKinley Community Church, where he had attended since he was two years old. He spent many years as trustee and chairman of the board of the church. For many years taught Bible Study and he and his wife had charge of the Youth Group where they did many adventures of camping, etc. He and his wife worked together in the church for their entire married life. The last few years he peeled apples and packaged the pies for the Ladies Aid.
He also was a longtime member of the Cortland Masonic Lodge.
The family enjoyed many years of camping together, beginning with a tent and ending with a large motorhome. Their favorite vacation spot was East Harbor State Park where all the kids liked to go to Cedar Point. They also enjoyed several years of sailing at Atwood Lake in a 27-foot Watkins sailboat. For Christmas last year, he completed his autobiography for his family. John was very happy with his entire life and said he would not want to change a thing!
He is survived by Janice, his wife of 67 years; daughter, Susan (Don) Zurcher; grandchildren, David Griffith, Jr., Candy Laury and Adrian (Josh) Mangialardi, great-grandchildren, Tia Bryan, Darrick and Colton Laury and Caprice Mangialardi; his sister, Gerry Foster and his Doberman sleeping buddy, Bubba.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, George and son, David, Sr.
Services will be held at McKinley Community Church, 1524 Elm Road NE in Warren on Saturday, October 14, 2023. Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a funeral service at 11:00 a.m., followed by military honors.
Burial will be in Howland Township Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations should go to either the church’s memorial fund or to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Arrangements entrusted to Lane Family Funeral Homes, Roberts-Clark Chapel. To leave condolences to the family please visit www.lanefuneralhomes.com.
A television tribute will air Thursday, October 12 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.