ROBERT VERNARD GRIFFIS lived 90 years in service to his country, his community, and his family. Born January 14, 1930, Griffis died at his home at Woodlands Retirement Community on Oct. 7, 2020, with family members by his side. He is preceded in death by his wife, Patricia Ray Griffis, parents Vernard and Helen Griffis and sister Carol Arrowood Griffis. He is survived by three daughters, Melanie Griffis Hooper, Teresa Giles (Michael) and Emily Stephens (Tim); nine grandchildren, Anna Fure Schnetzler (Nate), Ellen Fure Smith (Anthony), Brandon Giles, Austin Giles, (Angelique), Jason Stephens (Sarah), Paul (Shelia) Stephens; Michael Stephens (Kaytee), Nina Rottgen, (Drew) and Cassie Stephens-Saylor and (James Saylor). He was very proud to be the great-grandfather of 15, and a host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins. Griffis is also survived by his special friend, Janice Gold. Griffis first showed his strength when moving from his childhood home in Quinnimont, West Virginia, in Fayette County to Huntington for school, then enlisting in the US Army in 1951, serving as a paratrooper in the 187th Airborne RCT. He completed more than a dozen combat jumps in the Korean War during his three years based in Japan. After his discharge, Griffis continued his career as an educator, mentor and leader. Entering the world of education as a teacher and principal, moving to the central office as a supervisor and coordinator, then retiring as associate superintendent of Cabell County Schools. Griffis’ teaching assignments ranged from elementary through college and graduate school. He envisioned and implemented the West Virginia Public Television System, and actively consulted with the federal government and service branches to create educational programs and training. His community contributions extend across the region as a Rotarian, member and leader at Beverly Hills United Methodist Church, as well as state and national leadership in educational professional organizations. His awards and accolades are numerous. He was the first recipient of the West Virginia Department of Education Leader of Learning Award. Other recognitions included, Huntington High School Hall of Fame, The Distinguished West Virginian Award and several others. In 1999, the Griffises moved to Woodlands Retirement Community. His service continued as a member and chair of the Leadership Council and audio-visual wizard, making the Hampton Room a modern facility for projection and performance. He spearheaded the establishment of the Woodlands Croquet program, supervising the development of the court and as commissioner of the Croquet League. He was a frequent performer with the Woodlands Warblers. Griffis’s great love lives through this family, sharing his passion for music, astronomy, croquet, gardening, ping pong, adventure, the Herd. His legacy is large and we will miss him. A private service will be held Saturday, Oct. 10 at Beard Mortuary in Huntington. To comply with COVID precautions, the service will be live-streamed by Beard Mortuary www.beardmortuary.com. In Lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to Hospice of Huntington, The Blanchette Rockefeller Foundation for Alzheimer's Research at WVU in memory of Robert and Patricia Griffis and the Janice Chandler Gold Fund for Musical Enrichment at Woodlands Retirement Community. Please share your memories, stories, photos and condolences on the tribute page.
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