OBITUARY: John D. Griffin Sr.

John D. Griffin Sr.

John D. Griffin, Sr., age 87, passed away on August 13, 2021

John Dolph Griffin was a man after God’s own heart. A servant leader dedicated to his faith and family. He was the patriarch, larger than life, though small in physical stature. A man among men, John was very kind, gentle, and giving. A keeper of The Greatest Commandment, he always loved others as he loved himself! Anyone in need knew they could count on him. He met no strangers but left each person he encountered with wonderful stories and knowledgeable advice.

One of six siblings, John was the last surviving Griffin-Douglas son.

Born May 4, 1934, in Monticello, Arkansas, to Arch Washington Griffin and Stella Mary Douglas, John fell asleep Friday night, August 13, 2021, and woke up in the presence of the Lord.

As a young man, he was a good, good, son, obeying his parents and helping raise his nieces and nephews.

In 1965, on a trip to Monterey, Mexico with his sisters, God assigned a beautiful young woman to translate for his family when they visited the First Baptist Church. Captivated by her beauty, and confident she should be his bride, John married Alicia on August 25, 1966. True to his vows, he remained loyal and faithful to her, and her only, for 55 precious years.

John and Alicia brought three children into the world, loving and adoring each one, as if they were the one and only. John Jr., Diane, and Carlos. He exhibited the rare, but wonderful quality of being a good listener to each of them, and he was indeed their best friend. A wise, loving, and kind daddy who never forgot to take plenty of photographs.

“Papa” became his name when his children had children. And, he wasn’t just any papa; he was the best he could possibly be. Each event the children or grandchildren participated in was his top priority. He attended ball games, plays, and concerts, taking great care not to miss a single one. He was nurturing, loving, and encouraging. He was the sharp-dressed man each granddaughter wanted to dance with at her quinceañera. Priceless photos are evidence of his irreplaceable presence, dancing with his daughter to Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” and spinning his granddaughter around at her Christmas wedding. Family was everything to John D. Griffin and his love for each of them was unconditional.

Recognizing time is precious; John spent his working life as a watch and clockmaker. Even so, he was a jack-of-all-trades, and a musician at heart. He rocked every child to the sounds of the Big Bands. Then, “Papa” earned another nickname as “The Baby Whisperer,” for he could rock any fussy baby back to sleep.

He had so much love to give he even loved his plants. He was an avid gardener and collector of plants and seeds. He loved to work in the yard and helped his family each year with spring and fall planting. If there was a storm in the forecast, he was the first to call and alert everyone.

His wit and humor always kept the family entertained and his house full of laughter. His music and old movies kept his home as the place to visit during his golden years.

Words just simply cannot begin to explain the extent of his love, friendship, kindness, companionship, and so much more that he lavished on those he loved. He will be missed terribly and held within the hearts of those who loved him deeply.

Realizing the day would come when God called him home, John told his son that all he ever wanted was for his children to love one another and be there for each other when he was gone. They will accept, honor, and abide by his request, while also caring for their mom, his sweet Alicia.

John left this earth, unexpectedly and way too early.

Just days away from his granddaughter, Tailah’s wedding, John has joined the cloud of witnesses and will have the best seat at the ceremony.

He leaves behind the Biblical legacy of a Good Man…an inheritance of faith for his children’s children.

Preceded in death by siblings, Willie George Griffin, Neudia Hebner, Neva Belle Griffith, Archie Mae Pilkinton, Louise Spray, Billie Marie Moy & Bernice Byrd.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. B. Alicia Griffin; children, John D. Griffin, Jr. (Cynthia), Alicia Diane Janbakhsh (Mark), & Carlos A. Griffin (Adaliz Flores); grandchildren, Tailah Janbakhsh, Alexis (Trent) Fowler, Brianna Janbakhsh, Chelsea Janbakhsh, Kaylee Griffin & Carlos Matthew Griffin; nieces, Priscilla Anne Lapp & Margaret Malonry. Funeral services will be conducted Thursday, August 19, 2021, at Woodbine Funeral Home, Hickory Chapel, 5852 Nolensville Road, at 12:00 Noon, by Pastor James Lowe, with visitation from 11:00 – 12:00 Noon. Interment Christ Church Memorial Gardens. Family and Friends will serve as Pallbearers. Memorial contributions may be made to Hispanic Family Foundation, 3955 Nolensville Pike, Suite 107, Nashville, TN 37211.

Woodbine Funeral Home, Hickory Chapel, 615-331-1952.

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