Milton Edward Griffing, "Scottie" as he was known to family and friends, died peacefully at his home in Sequim, Washington, on Jan. 16, 2016, at age 89.
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Milton Griffing was born on Feb. 1, 1926, in Masonville, Colorado, to William Joseph "Bill" Griffing, and Linda Potter Griffing Kitchen, the second of six children. The first places Scottie lived were a log house on Crystal Mountain, Northwest of Masonville, a tie camp near Cedar Cove, and North Park, Colorado. Tiring of roaming from place to place, his mother insisted the children needed consistent schooling. So in 1934 the family moved to Loveland when he was in the 3rd grade. At Loveland high school, Scottie was twice state champion at wrestling.
After graduating from high school in 1943, Scottie worked as a welder in the Portland, Oregon, Naval Shipyard until enlisting in the U.S. Navy in January 1944. During World War II he served as quartermaster, operating L.C.T's at Palermo, North Africa and Marseille. In 1946 Scottie served as quartermaster on the U.S.S. Midway, on its shakedown cruise. (In 2014 Dad travelled to San Diego with his sister Carol, where the Midway is now a maritime museum. Honored to be "rung-in" as one of the few surviving Midway "plank-owners", he was given a special behind the scenes tour.)
Discharged from the Navy in 1946, Scottie attended Colorado A&M (now CSU) at Fort Collins. In 1947, he married Dorothy Druhan, whom he'd met while stationed in New Orleans, and they settled into the house he had built by hand in Loveland. After graduating, the new Griffing family moved to Greenbush, Minnesota, where Scottie taught farming techniques to veterans. In 1953 he purchased a 235-acre dairy farm outside of Greenbush, and then in 1958 moved his family to Fargo, North Dakota, to get his master's degree in Ag Economics. In 1960, the Griffing's moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where Scottie pursued a Ph. D. in Ag Economics at University of Nebraska.
In 1964 the Griffing family, now with seven children, moved to Bozeman, Montana, where Scottie worked as the Economist for the USDA Soil Conservation Service for 15 years. Scottie enjoyed fishing, and especially hunting with his boys in the autumn. In 1980, the Griffing's were transferred to Portland, Oregon, where Scottie became the economist for the western multi-state team. Scottie retired in 1986 and moved to Sequim, Washington with Dorothy, where Scottie salmon fished, crabbed, participated in local politics, and traveled around the country with Dorothy to visit their children, relatives and friends.
Milton Griffing was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 66 years, Dorothy; his parents and siblings Lloy, Mary Del Griffing Beecher, David and Thomas.
Scottie is survived by his sister Carol Griffing McKenzie (Rod) - Altadena, California; by his seven children Michael (Meg) - Marietta, Ohio; Daniel (Carolyn Wells) - Belgrade, Montana; Therese (Jim Crawford) - Vancouver, Washington; James (Sharlene) - Augusta, Georgia; Robert (Katherine) - Spokane, Washington; LindaBeth - Sequim, Washington; Scott (Claudia) - Billings, Montana; and by thirteen grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.
Scottie will be remembered for his commitment to provide for his family so they wouldn't experience the Depression hardships he had known. He strongly embraced the belief that a good education could empower someone born in poverty to rise and earn a productive living, and live a fulfilling life. He lived frugally, and helped fund the college educations of his children and grandchildren.
We'll all remember the advice he gave: "There's no such thing as a free lunch." "The world doesn't owe anyone a living." "Use every opportunity to prepare yourself for earning a living doing something practical." "An education is the lightest set of tools you will ever have to carry."
Scottie, our Dad, was forged on the harsh anvil of his childhood. But Dad was also a self-made man – authored by the boy without a childhood who pulled himself up from poverty "by his own bootstraps". Dad had great strengths of character, and a few flaws – both of which tempered the people we later grew to be. Goodbye Dad, we will miss you.
A memorial for Scottie Griffing will be held at the Sequim Holiday Inn Express, 1441 E Washington St, WA, at 5:30 p.m. on April 23.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Feb. 7, 2016