Colonial Funeral Home

1801 East Red River Street, Victoria, TX


Sylvan "Rusty" W. Griffith Sr.

October 26, 1922June 28, 2020

Lifelong Victorian, 97 years old, Sylvan "Rusty" Griffith passed away Sunday, June 28, 2020. He was born in Victoria County to Henry Hiram Griffith and Lula Catherine Obsta Griffith on October 26, 1922. Rusty attended school in Inez and graduated from Patti Welder High School. After graduation he worked as a serviceman for an automobile company. Sylvan enlisted in the U.S. Army in Victoria in November, 1942. He was a T/Sgt. with the Intelligence Reconnaissance Division and was deployed to Rome-Arno, Southern France and fought his way to Berlin. He served until December of 1945. During WWII, he earned a number of medals and was a decorated hero. He was awarded the second highest award by the U.S. Army, The Distinguished Service Cross, the Soldier's Medal, Purple Heart and a Meritorious Service Unit Plaque, American Theater Campaign Medal, EAME Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars and 1 Bronze Arrowhead, and the Distinguished Unit Badge Croix De Guerre with 1 Oak Leaf. His Distinguished Service Cross was awarded for extraordinary heroism in action. On October 20, 1944, at 0900 hours near St. Die, France, when his eight-man reconnaissance patrol was ambushed on exposed ground by a cordon of enemy machine gunners and snipers, Sergeant Griffith braved heavy fire to assault two German machine guns singlehanded. Dazed by a bullet that hit on his helmet, he dashed two hundred and fifty yards into blistering gun fire, opened up with his sub-machine gun as he closed in and administered the coup de grace with hand grenades at fifteen yards. Killing eight and wounding two Germans, and destroying both machine guns, he blasted an escape corridor for the trapped patrol. Home from the service, he worked for different automobile companies and for a tire company. In 1946, Rusty met the love of his life, Miss Elizabeth Ophelia Kisiah. They met at a VFW dance held at the old Armory Building and they married on November 22, 1948. Rusty went to work helping to build the E.I. DuPont plant in 1949, and eventually went to work for DuPont and retired after more than 30 years of service as a DuPont Security Guard and lastly as their Safety Specialist. In his retirement years, he and Liz along with their son, Sylvan opened "Griffith's Antique Shop" in Victoria. They carried furniture, glass, clocks and many interesting collectibles as well as buying complete estates. They enjoyed traveling all over the U.S. to bring back treasures to sell in their shop. They retired from the antique business in 1990, but continued to collect antiques and travel. They loved to go to Las Vegas and Laughlin in Nevada and made many trips to Louisiana casinos. Rusty was always considered a very "lucky person" and he loved telling the stories about his winnings. Rusty and Liz enjoyed 71 years of the happiest married life. Liz passed in April of this year. They are Charter Members of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church. Rusty served as an Usher there for many years and is a 3rd Degree Honorary Knights of Columbus member. Recently they were attending Holy Family Catholic Church. Rusty and Liz are part of the original group of people who began mall walking for exercise when our Victoria Mall opened. Rusty continued to walk the mall and visit with fellow mall walkers until the COVID virus stopped the activity. Rusty is survived by a nephew, Jay Clyde Davis Whitlock and wife Carol of Corpus Christi, Texas, numerous cousins, friends, and neighbors. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; only son, Sylvan William Griffith; brother, Henry Lee Griffith; sisters, Susie Maude Griffith, and Clydie Louise Griffith Davis Whitlock. Rusty will be laid to rest in Resurrection Cemetery on Friday, July 3, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. with Rev. Ty Bazar officiating. Due to the Corona virus, visitors are required to wear masks and practice social distancing. Honorary Pallbearers are Wally Summers, Gene Gillie, James Calaway, Larry Pullin, Conrad Mabry, Larry Janis, Kenneth Price and Jim Borden. Memorials may be made to Our Lady of Victoria Catholic Church, Christ's Kitchen or Hospice of South Texas. Words of comfort may be shared with the family at colonialfuneralhomevictoria.com


  • Lula Catherine Obsta Griffith, Mother (deceased)
  • Henry Hiram Griffith, Father (deceased)
  • Elizabeth Ophelia Kisiah Griffith, Wife (deceased)
  • Sylvan William Griffith, Jr., Son (deceased)
  • Henry Lee Griffith, Brother (deceased)
  • Susie Maude Griffith, Sister (deceased)
  • Clydie Louise Griffith Davis Whitlock, Sister (deceased)
  • Jay Clyde Davis Whitlock and wife Carol, Nephew and wife
  • Also survived by numerous cousins, dearfriends and neighbors.

Learn more about the Griffith name


  • Wally Summers, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Gene Gillie, Honorary Pallbearer
  • James Calaway, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Larry Pullin, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Conrad Mabry, Larry Janis , Honorary Pallbearer
  • Larry Janis, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Kenneth Price, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Jim Borden, Honorary Pallbearer


  • Graveside Burial Service

    Friday, July 3, 2020


Sylvan "Rusty" W. Griffith Sr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lee Ann Lampley Johnson

July 2, 2020

I’m so sorry to hear about Rusty’s passing. I’m happy that Rusty and Liz were close friends with my parents. When my daughter was little, we enjoyed visiting their home and seeing the beautiful Christmas and Easter decorations. Prayers for your family.

Desire'e Peagler

July 2, 2020

I was not fortunate enough to have met this hero but wish I had. Thank you for sharing his story .

Magdalena Kuykendall

July 2, 2020

Happy I got to meet you Mr Rusty, when Waldo sent me to y'all. You were so nice to me knowing I was a stranger and your softness in manner & voice touched me. Waldo is so lucky to have an Uncle as you. True American hero.


Learn more about the Griffith name