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THOMAS GRIFFITH

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THOMAS GRIFFITH Obituary

Thomas Gilbert Griffith
Jan. 28, 1942 - Oct. 1, 2012
Passed away October 1, 2012 in San Mateo, California. He was born in Berkeley, California to Helen Elizabeth Griffith and Edward McConnell Griffith on January 28, 1942. He was the grandson of Charles Lord Griffith and Adelaide Beardsley Griffith of Berkeley and Vive, Switzerland and Helen and Gilbert Atkinson of Berkeley. He traced his roots to a family who arrived by clipper ship through the Golden Gate before the start of the California Gold Rush in 1848. He was the great grandson of Captain Millen Griffith who founded the first fleet of tug boats on the San Francisco Bay. The Ship Owners & Merchants Line with John D. Spreckles as partner, which were known as the Red Star Tugs. The company later pioneered the use of tugs in the whaling and salmon canning industry in Alaska.
A fourth generation San Franciscan he attended Ulysses S. Grant School, the Robert Louis Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, and Claremont Men's College before transferring to the University of California, Berkeley where his father and all of his aunts and uncles had matriculated. At Berkeley he was an active member and later President of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and Skull and Keys. Upon graduating he served in the United States Coast Guard during the Vietnam War. He married Susan Abbay Hackett in San Francisco in 1968. Suzy and Tom moved to Seattle, Washington for two years, returning to San Francisco in 1970 when Tom became Director of Marketing for Delta Lines. Tom and Suzy moved from San Francisco to Hillsborough in 1971. In 1975 he founded his own trucking company, Trans Bay Express. He subsequently shifted his interest to commercial real estate development and management where he remained for the rest of his career.
Tom was an avid alpine skier and traveler who spent his life wintering in the high Sierras at his family's houses on the Truckee River at Lake Tahoe and summers at Villa L'Acciaio outside of Florence, Italy. He was an Eagle Scout and an ardent collector of Studebaker automobiles and trucks. He was a voracious reader and a gifted antiquarian with an extensive knowledge of decorative arts. He enjoyed fly-fishing and sailing with his two sons as well as much of his time spent at the family's ranch, Fandango Farm, in the Sierra Foothills near Yosemite where he had a multitude of projects constantly underway. He was a member of the Society of California Pioneers, the Burlingame Country Club and the Bohemian Club.
He is survived by his beloved wife of forty four years, Suzy; he was the devoted father of Charles Lord Griffith III (Jane) of San Mateo and Millen Griffith IV (Wheeler) of San Francisco and two adored grandsons, Charles Lord Griffith, IV and Harris Matthew Griffith. He is also survived by his mother, Helen Elizabeth Atkinson Griffith and his younger brother, Richard A. Griffith. He was predeceased by his brother, Peter Edward Griffith in 1966.
The Griffith family would like to thank Tom's amazing medical team headed by Dr. Bart Barlogie of UAMS, Dr. Jeffrey L. Wolf of UCSF and Dr. Mark Musco. In lieu of flowers any memorial donations should be directed to the Multiple Myeloma Foundation at www.themmrf.org. A memorial service is being arranged for later in the month.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Oct. 15, 2012
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