Charles Hillary Griffin, 65, craftsman, mechanic, traveler

November 30, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Charles Hillary Griffin had a distinctive way of greeting neighbors who moved into his community near Crownsville. He presented them with redwood mailboxes he had made in his basement workshop.

Mr. Griffin, who was 65, died of heart failure Tuesday at North Arundel Hospital.

Anne Scott, a neighbor on Waterbury Heights Drive, recalled last week a morning 30 years ago when she was awakened by the sound of a hammer.

"He was the first one to welcome us to the neighborhood. It was a complete surprise. I came down in the morning, and he was busy installing a little red mailbox at the end of our driveway. When I asked him about it, he said, 'I just wanted to do something nice for your family.' "

Said Elouise Williams, another neighbor and friend of many years: "I guess his mailboxes totaled some 20-plus."

"He was a very generous and loving individual," Mrs. Williams said, "the kind of man you could always count on."

Mr. Griffin's woodworking didn't stop with mailboxes. He also built birdhouses, rocking horses and cradles for family members and their babies.

"My, he had piles of wood and every kind of tool imaginable down there," said his wife of 38 years, the former Shirley Johnson.

Mr. Griffin also liked to purchase old cars and restore them to running condition.

He enjoyed family gatherings, at which he was known for his barbecued ribs, fried fish, potato salad, corn bread and greens.

He also enjoyed traveling by ship, and last year sailed to Greece, Israel and Bombay, India. He had been through the Panama and Suez canals.

Born and raised in Elkridge, Mr. Griffin was a 1950 graduate of Douglass High School. He was a driver in the Army from 1951 to 1953.

He worked for Bartgis Bros. Box Co. and later at Crownsville State Hospital before going to work in 1968 as a correctional officer at the Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup. He retired in 1978.

He was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church of Elkridge, where he was an usher.

Services for Mr. Griffin, who willed his body to medical research, will be at 11: 30 a.m. Saturday at Nutter Funeral Home, 2501 Gwynns Falls Parkway, Baltimore.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Griffin is survived by two daughters, Lynn Bell of Columbia and Pamela Scott of Woodlawn; a brother, the Rev. Monroe Simms of West Baltimore; a sister, Virginia Smith of Randallstown; and two grandsons.

Pub Date: 11/30/97

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