Dr. John Joseph Griffin was born March 28,1943 in Teutopolis, Illinois and died December 19,2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. John was the fourth child of Luella Siemer Griffin and John Harold “JH” Griffin. He is survived by his loving wife of almost 57 years Kathleen Pugh “Kathy” Griffin, his three children and their spouses Mary Griffin Harden (Steve), John Joseph Griffin Jr. (Maria), Megan Griffin (Chris), and his adored grandchildren Anna Harden, Kate Griffin, John Edward “Jed” Griffin, and Sarah Crouch. He is preceded in death by his eldest sister Patricia Slate and her husband Joseph and is survived by his siblings Judy Murphy (Terrence, dec.), Linda Kirk (Bill), Steve Griffin (Liz), and countless nieces, nephews, and cousins. John is also survived by his wife’s Pugh and Duplantier families who he adopted as his own.
John was raised in the small farming community of Teutopolis, Illinois. The T-Town lifestyle provided the foundation for his love of family, interest in music, and his curious spirit. Surrounded by wheat and cornfields, he was taught by nuns, priests, and his own father in public schools that fostered his strong Catholic faith. John left this bucolic life where he hunted in the woods for the ever-elusive morel mushroom to attend the University of Notre Dame where he was Treasurer and President of the Glee Club. At Christmas of his senior year at ND, he married Kathy, the love of his life.
John’s aptitude for learning and his desire to help others led him to St. Louis University School of Medicine. He enlisted in the Air Force and did his internship and residency at Wilford Hall Hospital on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. There he became a board-certified psychiatrist. After four years, he was transferred to Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska and chose to drive the family up the Alcan highway in a Ford camper van creating memories of a lifetime. In Alaska he enjoyed skiing and salmon fishing. With the kids in tow, John enjoyed an active family life that included clam digging, blueberry picking, cross country skiing, and hiking the spectacular landscape. Upon retiring as a Major in the Air Force, John and Kathy built a wonderful life and thriving psychiatric practice in Nashville where he spent 42 years providing exceptional care for patients and their families.
When John received a terminal cancer diagnosis, he remarked that he didn’t have a bucket list because he had done everything he wanted to do. He instilled in his kids the importance of education and life lessons learned through books and by being global citizens. He and Kathy generously sent each of their children to Europe during their college years before they themselves saw the world together. As an inseparable couple, they traveled extensively from Europe to Central America and Mexico, to Patagonia and Peru, and they even took a drive across N. America last September. John also enjoyed his annual men’s only ski trips with the Hairchuters and fishing in Canada. During the pandemic, John and Kathy drove on day trips through Tennessee’s state parks where they hiked and enjoyed the local beauty.
The true joys of John’s life are his four grandchildren. He loved giving them advice in the form of sermons mostly about how to live life well and the importance of saving money. Believing his original recipients of the sermons, his children, hadn’t fully embraced his messages, he had high hopes he could change the next generation and he did. He patiently taught the grandchildren how to drive cars, to fish, and the importance of family, education, and faith. John answered every call and text, shared countless hours of life and medical advice, and enjoyed long road trips with them. He and Kathy blessed each grandchild with a unique grandparent trip somewhere special in the world during their teens. In addition to being their beloved Bapaw, he was a true friend and confidant to each of them.
The Griffin family would like to thank Dr. Jacqueline Pugh and Alive Hospice for their exceptional kindness and care.
Celebrations of John’s life will be held at Christ the King Church in Nashville with visitation on Monday, December 27 from 4-6pm. The funeral Mass will be December 28 at 10am with a reception following in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider supporting Alive Hospice, Second Harvest Food Bank, or Greenways for Nashville.