William James Griffith
February 7, 1928 – June 19, 2020
William James “Jim” Griffith, age 92, passed away peacefully at Celeste Care on June 19, 2020 in Horseshoe Bay, Texas. Born on February 7, 1928 in Avon, SD, he was the son of Robert Warren and Ruth Elizabeth Griffith. Jim graduated from Huron College in 1949 with a degree in Communications.
Upon graduation he joined the U.S. Air Force and became a pilot. Jim flew many planes, but primarily the KC-97 (refuels other planes in the air) during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged in 1954. After the war he remained active in the South Dakota & Kansas Air National Guard for 30 years and retired as a Colonel.
In 1950 he met the love of his life, Helen Jean Stangland, and they were married in 1953. They were happily married for almost 67 years and have three children, eight grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. Jim was a family man who was all about making memories and loved a good surprise, especially for Helen. One of his best was flying in their children & spouses to London to surprise her for her 60th birthday. It almost backfired when Helen first saw them and was so shocked that we almost considered taking her to the hospital. After gaining her composure, an amazing trip was had by all.
While continuing with the Air National Guard, he had successful careers in the airline industry, hotel industry, and even managed a fishing lodge in the Arctic. He retired from Brock Hotel Corporation in 1985 and moved to Horseshoe Bay, TX.
Jim was definitely a glass half full person and was always interested in his children and grandchildren’s lives. He especially enjoyed asking his grandchildren questions their parents could never ask. Jim was always their consummate advocate/supporter only wanting them to be well educated and happy. Jim and Helen were blessed with a wonderful family and countless dear friends.
Jim was not one to sit back and wait for someone else to take charge when something needed to get done. We are not sure if that came from his military background or just his desire to bring people together. Shortly after moving to Horseshoe Bay in 1986 he took a leadership role with the local Shriners helping them grow & flourish. In addition he also served on the boards for the Property Owners Association & The Church at Horseshoe Bay. At the church he was also active in the choir for 32 years and started the Men’s Chorus. Jim also found time to organize large golf groups frequenting a variety of courses throughout the Texas Hill Country. He loved to pheasant hunt in his home state of South Dakota with friends and family. More than anything else he probably loved sitting back and enjoying all the memories being made.
Jim was preceded in death by his brothers, Robert Warren Griffith, Jr. and Calvin Reid Griffith. Jim is survived by his loving wife, Helen, three children – Scott (Sandy), Lori Weber (Bill), and Lisa Webre (Chris); eight grandchildren – Dustin (Patty), Jared (Jessica), Kyle (Jen), Ashley, Derek (Tong), Elizabeth, Alison, and Robert; and five great grandchildren – Evelyn, Alexander, Haleigh, Jamie, and Jack.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Jim’s name to:
• The Church at Horseshoe Bay www.church-hsb.org
• Hill Country Humane Society www.hillcountryhumanesociety.org
There will be a memorial service at 10 am on July 25, 2020 at The Church at Horseshoe Bay.
Church at Horseshoe Bay
William James Griffith
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June 29, 2020
When it comes to fathers and grandfathers, Jim was simply The Best. I had the honor of meeting Jim and Helen when I became Lisa's sister in law 30 years ago. After meeting Jim it was easy to see why Lisa is such a special person. Lucky for her, she has many of the same wonderful qualities I hear each time Jim is described by those who love him best. I know Scott and Lori must have many of these fine qualities and good character from both Jim and Helen as well.
Jim truly leaves a legacy of honor, integrity, kindness, his adventurous spirit and most of all unconditional love for his children and grandchildren to pass along for generations to come. May the circle of life be unbroken within the love of The Griffith Family.
Wishing the family peace and memories, Debbie Webre
June 27, 2020
There was always something special about Jim. I had the pleasure to meet Jim and Helen when my brother, Chris, married Lisa. I felt that I had a special connection to him very quickly. He had an engaging quality when meeting people. Due to his rich background and intellect and love of people, he could befriend everyone he met. I was most fortunate to hunt with Jim about three or four times. On our last hunt in South Dakota, I went by his room after the hunt to visit. He interrogated me about what I learned that day. Jim was one who asked a lot of questions which caused people to think more deeply about things. I noticed his attention to his grandsons as he would banter with them on the trip. He was an engaging man full of love and appreciation for all. He will be missed.
June 26, 2020
I don’t know where to start. In the obit it says Jim passed peacefully. That’s a first! Jim didn’t do anything quietly. He may have paused for a brief second, but only to take in the new journey before him. And I’m sure Jim was giving his guide directions about speeds, lights and the shortest way to get there.
He had a lust for life and wanted to share these with his family and friends. As much as he liked to hunt, golf, fish, beat me at Pitch – he loved to share adventures with others. Even when his shoulder was hurting or his legs weren’t up to walking milo fields, he was organizing golf and hunting trips for local friends and family, taking his grandkids fishing etc. He made his grandkids their own tackle box with their names on them. One time when Derek was young, he asked him to go count the live minnows in the bate bucket to keep him busy. When Jim went outside, he saw that Derek had gotten all the minnows out of the bucket and laid them on the cement – easier to count – especially when they stopped moving. It never phased Jim – just another memory. Jim loved his kids and grandkids and welcomed his in-laws into the family as if his own.
He loved Helen so much and enjoyed surprising her or just telling Helen “I Love You” – and he did that regularly. I can hear Helen, “Oh Jim” each time he did something. Helen may have cooked most of the meals, but Jim would not let Helen touch the dishes after. That was all his. As you can tell, Jim didn’t sit still long. When they would come visit us in Houston, he would always look for something to do – I never minded too much at how organized our garage became.
I will truly miss Jim and all the fun we used to have. It wasn’t about the hunt, it wasn’t about how many fish you caught, it wasn’t about your golf score or who won in Pitch – it was about sharing time and making memories with someone you loved and admired – see you later Griffith.
June 24, 2020
I met Jim and Helen through our dear best friends, Scott and Sandy Griffith. I remember they came to visit us with Scott and Sandy at our home in San Antonio. I will never forget how complimentary he was about our house. He always was a dear gentleman, very respectful. His big bright smile was contagious. He left footprints in my life and I thank him and God for that. Rest in peace, Jim.
June 24, 2020
Helen & family-So sorry to read this! Prayers for you & family! Will miss seeing him at post office & remember his smile!