Walter R. Griffeth (1919 - 2011)

4 entries
  • "To Linda Perez and sister Victoria Trafton. I knew you two..."
    - Ben Fawcett
  • "I knew Walt through my work. When he came in we would..."
    - Ginger Buck
  • "Linda and I were blessed by living next to Walt and Ann. ..."
    - Perry & Linda Shipman
  • "Walt was one of true "Airline" pioneers in Alaska and I was..."
    - Lonnie Jackson
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Walter R. Griffeth

Long-time Juneau resident Walter R. Griffeth, 92, passed away on March 29, 2011. He was born April 5, 1919 in Sacramento, California, but lived in Alaska and abroad as a station manager for Pan American Airways for many years, until finally settling in Juneau in 1980.

Walt was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 67 years, Ann, who passed away in Juneau in July, 2008. Early in their marriage, Walt joined the US Army Cavalry, where he was honored to be a member of the drill demonstration unit until joining the Army Air Corps early in World War II. Walt was one of fewer than 50 pilots who earning flying wings from both the Army and the Navy. For the duration of the war, he captained a PBY Catalina for the 3rd Emergency Rescue Squadron in the South Pacific, and was awarded four Bronze Stars, the Air Medal, and the Soldier's Medal.

After the war, Walt joined Pan American World Airways as a dispatcher and later an airport station manager. He, Ann, and their family lived all over the world during his career with Pan Am, living in the Orient, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and in and out of Alaska, starting in Fairbanks and ending on Annette Island. Alaska became the home of their hearts and they were eager to return when Walt later joined Wien Alaska Airlines, resulting in their last relocation move to Juneau in 1980 where Ann worked for the State of Alaska, Division of Retirement and Benefits, until her retirement.

Walt and Ann were active members of the Catholic Church, and Walt was a member and past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Walt was very proud of receiving a life membership in the Knights early in 2011. Walt was also an active member of local ferternal and military organizations.

Their life together was filled with amazing adventures and profound love. They are survived by children Linda Perez and her husband, Vic, of Juneau, Victoria Trafton and her husband, Donald, of Scottsdale, Ariz., Pat Ellis of Juneau, and Walter Griffeth Jr. and his wife Coco, of Fremont, Calif,; grandchildren, Stephen Hartman and Sarah and Andrew "AJ" Griffeth; great-grandson, Lucas Hartman, and sister-in-law Patricia Vella, of San Francisco, Calif., and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

The family invites friends to join in a Mass in Celebration of the lives of Walt and Ann on Tuesday, July 26th at 12 noon at St. Paul's Apostle Catholic Church in the Valley, followed by a reception in the parish hall. Walt honored Ann's wishes for no service at the time of her death, but decided that she would be an honored guest at his. The family chose July 26th to celebrate their lives as that day would have been Walt and Ann's 70th wedding anniversary. Walt and Ann will be interred at the Shrine of St. Therese later that afternoon. The family requests that memorials be made in the form of a donation to the charity of your choice.
Published in The Juneau Empire from July 24 to July 31, 2011
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