Col. Ole Curtis Griffith, Jr. USAF (Ret.)
Ole Curtis Griffith, Jr. age 99, passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord on February 17, 2021, 3 months shy of his 100th birthday.
Colonel Griffith was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 22,1921 to Reverend and Mrs. O.C. Griffith. He attended Bellevue High School and Carnegie Institute of Technology, graduating in 1942 with a Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Later he received a Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University. He was also a graduate of the US Air Force Institute of Technology and the Air Command and Staff College.
Ole was commissioned in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in 1942 and graduated from flying school with the Class of 1943K. During World War II, Ole served with the 91st Photo Mapping Squadron in Central and South America. He served 28 years in various command, staff, and technical assignments. This included a tour of duty on the staff of the Secretary of Defense. He was a Command Pilot, with over 4,000 hours in more than 50 different types of aircraft. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, with Oak Leaf Cluster. He retired from the Air Force in 1970, and then joined the Garrett Turbine Engine Company in Phoenix, Arizona. There, he served in several engineering and program management positions, until his retirement in 1990.
Ole was proud that the B-25 he flew in South America is on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
Ole's lifelong passion for aviation began on his 6th birthday, when the United States received word that Charles Lindbergh had landed in Paris, following his transatlantic flight. His love for photography began when he snapped a picture of Lindbergh in 1927, the first photo that he ever took.
Ole was a widely published writer and photographer. He served 2 terms as President of the Phoenix Wing of the American Aviation Historical Society. He was a member of the Air Force Association, the Military Officer's Association, the Military Order of the Daedalians and the Quiet Birdmen. He was a founding member of both the National Air and Space Museum and The American Air Museum in Britain. His academic honors included membership in Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma, Theta Tau and Scabbard and Blade.
He was a lifelong learner, who was interested in everything. He was an avid reader, a world traveler, and a lover of family, God, and country. Ole never met a stranger and leaves behind hundreds of friends from all generations. He viewed death as an exciting adventure as he looked forward to meeting His Lord. Ole was an active participant at the Beatitudes Campus Retirement Community where he resided for 14 years.
Ole was predeceased by his parents, his wife, Victoria, his sister, Margaret Mooney, and his brother, Reverend John D. Griffith. His survivors include, son, Jeffrey, daughters, Jennifer Cecil (Darrell), Julie Anderson (Brad) and his girlfriend Joyce Stenquist and grandchildren, Audrey Kobsar (Jamie), Hilary Peele (Justin), Brandon Crowe (Brittany), Natalie Bowman (Tyler), Steven Anderson (Kristen), Zachary Cecil and Jodi O'Connor (Paul). He is also survived by 14 great grandchildren, Lincoln, Griffith, Bennett and Graham Crowe, Jaden, Jackson, and Keira Kobsar, Daelen, Easton, and Nolan Peele, Emerson and Cayden Bowman, and Abby Lynn and Hailey O'Connor and sister-in-law, Frances Griffith.
We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to Vicky at Hillside Senior Living for her unfailing love, care, and devotion to Ole, in his final months of life.
Services will be held on Saturday. February 27, 2021 at Hansen Desert Hills Mortuary and Memorial Park at 6500 E. Bell Road, Scottsdale, AZ. 85254. Viewing will be from 9-10:30 a.m. followed by a service in the Courtyard at 10:45 a.m. Every effort will be made to maintain social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Services will be live streamed via FACEBOOK for those unable to attend (Jennifer Griffith Crowe Cecil).
Published in The Arizona Republic from Feb. 18 to Feb. 24, 2021.