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GRIFFITH WEBSTER GRIFFITH "Wick" (Age 82) Died on Friday, August 23, 2013 at Fairfax Inova Hospital in Falls Church, VA. He was born on September 10, 1930 in Johnstown, PA to George W. Griffith, Sr. and Gretchen Williams Griffith. Wick grew up in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Ebensburg High School in 1948 and prep school, The Lawrenceville School, in 1949. He received a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Architecture at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ in 1953. At Princeton Wick joined the Navy's reserve officers training corps (NROTC) and was commissioned as a Midshipman in 1949. On graduation he was promoted to Ensign and started his naval career at sea on the USS Hugh Purvis (DD-709), home-ported in Newport, RI. Wick married Patsy Wheeler in 1954 in Johnstown, PA. They were happily married for 59 years. He is survived by his wife Patsy of Reston, VA; his daughter Patsy Griffith Van Etten (Mrs. Jeffrey Van Etten) of Leesburg, VA, his brother George W. Griffith, Jr. of Jennings, LA, his grandsons Nicholas Allen Van Etten and Riley Webster Van Etten of Leesburg, VA. Highlights of Wick's naval career include a Masters in Electronic Engineering in 1963 and the birth of his daughter Patsy while at the US Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA. After Monterey he and his family went to Sasebo, Japan where he served as Executive Officer of the Epping Forrest (MCS-7) Wick served in the Vietnam War as head of Office of Naval Research & Development's combat development team in Saigon where he received the Bronze Star with the combat "V". He taught Electrical Engineering at the Naval Academy. Then he attended the Naval War College in Newport, RI. In retrospect Wick's greatest challenge and most fun in the Navy was command of the USS Neptune (ARC-2). The Neptune was a unique cable laying ship adapted for precisely deploying and maintaining the vital underwater sound system (SOSUS) used successfully in the Cold War to detect and track soviet submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific. Wick retired in 1973 as a Commander after serving for 20 years. His other awards include the Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnamese Armed Forces Honor Medal, First Class. In the Navy Wick earned a reputation for leadership and technical innovation. After retiring he put his Navy experience to work at ESystems, Inc.,TRW and retired from TASC in 1996. Relatives and friends are invited to Wick's Memorial Service at Money & King Funeral Home, 171 Maple Avenue W., Vienna, Virginia, on Saturday, October 12, 2013 from 10 a.m. till time of funeral service at 11 a.m. Burial will be held at the Griffith Family plot in Lloyd's Cemetery, Ebensburg, PA in July 2014. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to The Wounded Warrior Project C/O of MONEY AND KING FUNERAL HOME, 171 West Maple Ave., Vienna, VA 22180 or at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org. Online condolences and fond memories of Wick may be offered to the family at www.moneyandking.com www.moneyandking.com
Published in The Washington Post on Sept. 29, 2013