Forrest Lee Griffith Jr., 87, Amtrak official

May 19, 2006

Forrest Lee Griffith Jr., a retired manufacturing executive and Amtrak official, died of respiratory failure Monday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Timonium resident was 87.

A Baltimore native, he was a 1937 graduate of Polytechnic Institute and earned a joint bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and business administration from Cornell University in 1940.

He enlisted in the Navy in World War II and was assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics, where he held various engineering assignments including director of flight test electronics in Washington. He attained the rank of lieutenant commander.

After the war, he worked for the marketing department of Sterling Engine Co. in Buffalo, N.Y., until 1949, when he became head of the industrial engineering department at Hewitt Robins Inc., a conveyor manufacturer in Stamford, Conn.

After the company was taken over by Litton Industries, Mr. Griffith was appointed president of what became its conveyor division. He was later transferred to Reston, Va., to manage one of the company's plants.

In 1975, he left Litton and took a job in Washington as a vice president in Amtrak's personnel department. He retired in 1980.

The former Potomac and Alexandria, Va., resident moved in 1982 to Gibson Island where he and his wife, the former Betty Lines, built a home.

The couple, avid sailors, enjoyed cruising the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida aboard their sailing sloop Frolic and raced it on the Chesapeake Bay until they were well into their 80s, family members said.

Mr. Griffith was a former commander of the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron and a member of the Storm Trysail Club. He was a board member of the Gibson Island Club and a member of the Cornell University Engineering Society.

Since 2001, Mr. Griffith had lived at Mercy Ridge Retirement Community in Timonium, where he served as a member of the community's finance, maintenance and by-laws committees.

He enjoyed building models of sailing ships, playing duplicate bridge and painting seascapes and landscapes in acrylics.

Services are private.

In addition to his wife of 62 years, Mr. Griffith is survived by two sons, Forest Lee Griffith III of Westport, Conn., and Clark Lines Griffith of Lexington, Mass.; and five grandchildren.

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