William John Griffin III, of Greenwich, Conn., and Watch Hill, R.I., died peacefully on Monday, Aug. 6, at Yale New Haven Hospital. He was 82 years old.
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Bill is survived by Ellen Bourquardez Griffin, his loving wife of 57 years; his son, William John Griffin IV; and his daughters, Kimberley Reynolds, Leslie Lambrecht and Nicole Griffin. He is also survived by his daughter-in-law, Geraldine Griffin, and his sons-in-law, Richard Reynolds and Laurence Lambrecht. He was extremely proud of his seven grandchildren, Ryan, Patrick and Christopher Reynolds; Jack and Grace Lambrecht; and Eliza and Claire Griffin.
Born in New York City on April 23, 1930, he was the son of William and Margaret Griffin. He was raised in Pelham, N.Y., with his twin brother, Peter, and his younger brother, Paul. Bill graduated from The University of Virginia in 1952. So deep was his love for "Mr. Jefferson's University," he remained active in the university's alumni association as well as with the admissions department throughout his life. Upon graduation, Bill served as a naval intelligence officer aboard the USS Miller.
A gifted entrepreneur and a proud Ford dealer, Bill and his brother Peter opened Griffin Ford in New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1959 as the youngest Ford dealers in the country. He also opened Griffin Ford of New Canaan, Conn., in 1975 and Griffin Ford of Greenwich in 1977. He was also the dealer of the Lexus franchises in Greenwich, Conn., and Mount Kisco, N.Y.
Bill loved playing golf, swimming and spending time at his summer home in Watch Hill, R.I., with his family. He loved animals and developed a strong interest in racing pigeons at a young age, a passion he pursued throughout his life.
A devoted husband and a wonderful father, Bill will be best known as a loyal, honest, generous and gracious friend to all who knew him.
The family will have a private service and burial. A memorial Mass will be held on Aug. 27 at the Watch Hill Chapel at 11 a.m. in Watch Hill, R.I., followed by a reception at The Misquamicut Club.
The arrangements have been entrusted to Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home, 121 Main St., Westerly.
Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home
121 Main St.
Westerly, RI 02891
Published in The Westerly Sun from Aug. 9 to Aug. 10, 2012