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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, December 08, 2005


Paul Eugene GRIFFITH was the oldest child born to Clement Elias and Cora Mabel (KLEESE) GRIFFITH at home in Wellston, Iowa on February 13, 1918. He was looked up to by five younger siblings, Donald, Jack, Patricia, Theodore (Ted) and Clement, Junior. They have retained a strong closeness all their lives.

Paul attended grade school at Westminster county school near West Chester, Iowa and graduated from West Chester high school where he enjoyed playing football.

Most all of his life Paul was known for his great phsyical strength and ability to work hard. He worked for his grandfather, Harry KLEESE, and neighboring farmers in the area for 50-cents a day during The Depression.

On June 6, 1941, Paul married Ada May THOMAS, a young teacher who came to teach in the West Chester school. They happily set up housekeeping on a rented farm west of Paul's parents near West Chester and also farmed near Ainsworth, Iowa and with Raymond GORDON south of West Chester.

In 1948 Paul and Ada decided it was time to purchase a farm of their own and found one to their liking at Lamoni, Iowa near Ada's parents. On March 1, 1949 they moved their family to the MURRAY farm at Tuskego, five miles north of Lamoni. There, with much hard work and family involvement, they established and made the big house and farmstead andland their home for 56 years.

Ada and Paul began their family with the birth of daughter Nancy in 1942, sons, Gene and Barry, in 1945 and 1948, daughter Janet in 1949 and Laurel in 1955.

Paul's "hobbies" consisted of raising Shetland ponies for his children and other children to enjoy and serving his community. following his parents' example of being interested and involved in their community, Paul served loyally and long on the Decatur County Fair Board, as a Bloomington Rustlers 4-H club leader, on the Lamoni Creamery Board, the Lamoni Coop Elevator Board, the Farmers Home Administraion Board, the Ringgold County Mutual Insurance Board and was active lfelong in the Republican party. He served 17 years on the Lamoni School Board, working tirelessly on Lamoni School reorganization in the early 1950s.

Paul was a charter member and co-organizer of the Lamoni Lions club in 1970, serving as its president twice and was secretary for 17 years. he was honored with the Melvin Jones Fellow and Warren Coleman Honorary awards, the highest recognition given in the Lions organization and received his 35-year membership pin just a few weeks ago.

At Crown Colony Retirement Center, Paul has served as president of the Residents' Council for two years.

In 1969, Paul was recognized as an Iowa Master Farmer by Wallace's Farmer magazine. Paul enjoyed working his land and was an early innovator raising hogs in confinement. He tiled and terraced his entire farm to protect the watershed for Lake LaShane which supplies the water for the Lamoni community.

Paul liked nothing better than to welcome planned and unplanned company to his home and to reciprocate with planned and unplanned visits to the homes of friends and relatives. Nieces and nephews, grandchildren and others will long treasure the efforts Uncle Paul went to to entertain them with pony and sleigh rides, hayrides, "Spook houses" for Halloween parties and weiner roasts. He and Ada will long be remembered for their hospitatlity.

As a child paul was baptized a member of the Methodist Church. In the early 1950s he was baptized into the Community of Christ and served as an ordained Teacher for the rest of his life.

Work on the farm at Tuskego was made easier with the help of many young and older men and college students throughout the years. They worked together, learning his ways and enjoying camaraderie while weeding beans, fixing fences, picking up corn, planting and harvesting. Occasionally they also inavertently received some counseling.

Ada passed away suddenly in May 1966 leaving Paul very much alone. He farmed for several more years (62 years in total) before health problems and a stroke necessitated his moving into Crown Colony Retirement Center in Lamoni in September 2002 where he adjusted to group living and became content there in spite of dealing with cancer on an ongoing basis.

On November 29, 2005 Paul passed away at Decatur County Hospital following a sudden decline in his health.

Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Clement and Mabel KLEESE GRIFFITH; brothers, Jack and Donald; brother-in-law, Wayne BLEVINS; sisters-in-law, Marjorie THOMAS and Betty GRIFFITH and granddaughter, Mary Kate GRIFFITH.

Survivors include his five children, Nancy Carole (Raymond) POWELL of Creston, Iowa; Gene Allen (Kathy) GRIFFITH of Geneseo, Illinois; Barry Leon (Mary Linda) GRIFFITH of Knoxville, Iowa; Janet GRIFFITH of Des Moines, Iowa and Laurel Paul (Anita) GRIFFITH of Denver, North Carolina; 10 grandchildren, Larkin and Noel POWELL, Melinda (GRIFFITH) SUTTER, Kendall and Robert GRIFFITH; Jewell GRIFFITH, Carrie (GRIFFITH) DILLARD and Megan (GRIFFITH) PETERSON; Jedidiah and Levi GRIFFITH and 11 great-grandchildren, Tristan POWELL, Ellen, Mark and Ben SUTTER, Alex, Paige and Ford GRIFFITH, Madison, Isabelle and Olivia GRIFFITH, Mary Kate PETERSON and anticipated May arrival of baby of Carrie and Joe DILLARD.

Paul is also survived by his sister, Patricia (Harry) DUSENBERY of West Chester, Iowa; brothers, Ted (Delores) GRIFFITH of Wellman, Iowa and Clement (Vivian) GRIFFITH Junior of Washington, Iowa; two brothers-in-law, Elbert (Darlene) THOMAS of Lamoni, Iowa and William (Geraldine) THOMAS of Dumont, Iowa; sister-in-law, Mildred BLEVINS of Rich Hill, Missouri, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Services were held on Saturday, December 3, 2005 at the Community of Christ Church in Lamoni, Iowa with High Priest T. Raymond POWELL, Elder Roy SHIELDS and Evangelist Lester STEVENSON officiating. Burial was in the Rose Hill Cemetery, Lamoni, Iowa. Arrangements were made through the Slade-O'Donnell Funeral Home of Leon and Lamoni.

A memorial fund has been established by the family.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2012

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