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Keith H. Griffin


1924 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Keith H. Griffin Obituary
Keith H. Griffin passed away peacefully surrounded by his family September 18 in San Luis Obispo, California. He was 92. A consummate gentleman and cherished husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law and friend, Keith was loved and admired by all who knew him. Keith was born December 29, 1924, in Los Angeles to James H. and Carolyn (Kirkwood) Griffin. Growing up in Glendale, he developed an early passion for flying and aviation. As a student at Hoover High School he spent many after-school hours watching activities at nearby Grand Central Terminal, dreaming of becoming a pilot. He took the first step toward realizing that dream when, upon graduation in 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force. Rising to the rank of Lieutenant, Keith piloted a B-25 and was assigned to photo reconnaissance over Japan on a P-38 fighter. In March 1945, on the first leg of his flight to the Pacific, his plane lost an engine. He heroically piloted the plane to land, but was pulled from the fiery crash with a severely damaged spine. Doctors predicted he would need a wheelchair by the age of 35. He took up archery and strengthened his back, and was still walking in his 90s. After the war Keith enrolled at USC, where he joined the Kappa Alpha fraternity and double-majored in business management and industrial engineering. He graduated in 1950 and joined his father at the James H. Griffin Company in Huntington Park. Formed shortly after World War II, the company served as manufacturer's representative providing machine tools to the aircraft, oil and defense industries. Keith eventually became chief executive; he also served as chairman of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (Southern California chapter). In 1948 Keith met the love of his life, Clarice Bjurman. They married in 1951 and were inseparable for the next 66 years. They settled in La Crescenta, where they raised their three children and made many wonderful friends. They also spent time and eventually settled in Shell Beach on the Central Coast. Keith had an everlasting love of the ocean. He loved to sail and for a time built beautiful outrigger boats as a hobby. He and Clarice also shared a love of travel, which took them to the South Seas, Western and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean and throughout the United States. Perhaps his favorite place was Hawaii, where he made many happy visits with friends and family. Keith is survived by his wife, Clarice, and children Carolyn (Mitch) Avalon, Melinda (Donn) Risolo and Jim (Cherie) Griffin, as well as grandchildren Jimmy and Andrea Risolo, and Scott, Ryan and Allie Griffin; and step-granddaughters Ashley and Brittany Avalon. A member of the Greatest Generation, Keith exemplified all that his generation stood for. He will be loved and remembered always for his strength, kindness, generosity, humor, wisdom and deep love for his family. A memorial service will be held at 1pm, Saturday, October 21 at Los Osos Valley Memorial Park, 2260 Los Osos Valley Road, Los Osos, CA 93402. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the .
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30, 2017
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