Asheville - Ralph Edwin Griffith, who worked for a President, U.S. senator and a governor after a newspaper career, died Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at his residence in Asheville, NC.
When he retired in 1987 he was director of the U.S. Senate Radio/Television Recording Studio, which was located in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. It capped a career that began in his hometown of Bluefield, WV, as a reporter on the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. He also worked on the Bluefield Sunset News and then moved to The Knoxville (TN) Journal, where he remained for 17 years
Griffith resigned from The Journal in 1968, while political editor, to become press secretary for former U.S. Sen. Howard H. Baker R - TN. He returned to Tennessee in 1971 to be press director and to help manage the successful campaign of former Gov. Winfield Dunn. Dunn became the first Republican governor of that state in 50 years. He served four years in Governor Dunn's cabinet before returning to Washington in 1975 where he was appointed director of congressional/press relations in the Office of Telecommunications Policy, Executive Office of President Ford.
In 1977 he was appointed executive director of the National Republican Governors Association and in 1981 was named director of the radio/television studio, which served Republican and Democrat members of the U.S. Senate. He directed the installation of cameras and trained the first operators when that body first provided television signals for broadcast. He installed the first fiber optic cable in Washington to be used for television, which gave senators access to news programs all over the world from the basement of the Senate.
He moved to Asheville in 1989.
Griffith was a veteran of WWII, serving on the submarine U.S.S. Piranha in the Pacific Theater of Operations.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Gail Henderson Griffith; sons, Alan Griffith, of Rockford, IL, and Ed Griffith, of Knoxville, TN; daughters, Cynthia Griffith, of Demorest, GA, and Mary Sadler (Jeff), of Boulder, CO; step-son, Chip Forward and step-daughter, Diane Davis, both of Baltimore, MD; many grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and sister, JoAnne Styron of Marion, VA.
He was preceded in death by a son, Andrew Griffith.
Memorials may be made to CarePartners Hospice, P.O. Box 25338, Asheville, NC, 28813; or to the Maine State Troopers Assoc., 28 Meadows Rd., Augusta, ME, 04330.
Groce Funeral Home on Tunnel Rd. is assisting the family and the online memorial is available at www.grocefuneralhome.com
Published by Asheville Citizen-Times on Jul. 27, 2015.