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Mark Alan Griffith Sr.
(April 21, 1930 - June 11, 2013)

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Mark Alan Griffith Sr.

U.S. Veteran

Mark A. Griffith Sr., local businessman, community volunteer, and third generation member of a prominent Pearl River family, died on June 11th at the age of 83. Mark spent his personal and business life dedicated to the community until retiring to Frederick MD in 2009. He married his Pearl River high school sweetheart, Anna Laura Griffith (nee Hansen) and they had two children, Mark Jr. and Diane. When the children were old enough, Anna Laura joined Mark in the family insurance business, The Griffith Agency, founded by William F. Griffith Sr. in 1941. Anna Laura predeceased him at the age of 57 after a valiant battle with cancer. Mark and Anna Laura were known to “light up the dance floor” with their ballroom dancing expertise. Later in life, Mark caught the eye of Pearl River High School teacher and administrator, Joanne Shalkop (nee Hagenbuch). Joanne, who also lost her spouse to cancer, stepped right into the role of “Grandma” to Mark III, Michael, Lauren Griffith and Jonathan & Raymond Smoley. Too young to enlist in WWII like his older brothers Dexter and Thomas or sister Aline, one of Mark’s proudest accomplishments, at age 12, was collecting scrap metal, desperately needed for the war effort, from all over town in his wagon. He beamed upon learning he had set the town record. During the Korean War, Mark was stationed at the US Naval Air Station, Port Lyautey, Morocco. He placed in the top 3 of a class of 350 so he was sent into the Mediterranean to intercept Russian enemy codes and transmissions as a Communications Specialist. Mark began his insurance career at The Griffith Agency as an office boy at age 15 working for his father while running his own business selling vegetables, chickens and eggs raised in the family backyard. He received the highest honor award from both the Independent Agents of Rockland and the Downstate Agents council where he served as Past President and Convention Chair, respectively. Mark and long-time associate Don Liebert of Nanuet, worked together to set up the specialized program that jointly insures all the school districts in Rockland County. He served as volunteer insurance advisor for the Methodist Churches in Rockland and the State of New Jersey. Now 72 years later, the agency is in its fourth generation with the addition of grandchildren, Mark III and Lauren Griffith. He completed the four-year course of study in accounting at Alfred University earning his degree in business in only two years. As a member of the Pearl River Methodist Church since age 13, Mark taught high school age Sunday School, served as Chair of Finance, Board of Trustees, and numerous other committees. For ten years he served on the Lederle Animal Care Committee ensuring humane treatment of laboratory animals. Mark was President of the Pearl River Rotary Club, founding member of the Rotary Scholarship Foundation, and awarded the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship exemplifying the ideals of “Service Above Self”. Mark is survived by his loving wife Joanne, children Mark Jr., Chestnut Ridge; Diane Griffith Smoley (Raymond) Frederick, MD; sister Aline (Condesa de Romanones) Madrid, Spain; brother Thomas (Mary Gray) Goshen, NY; brother William Jr., Beaufort, NC; twin sister Margaret (Peggy) Crosby, Frankford, DE; brother-in-law Rudy Hansen and sister-in-law Dorothy (Dotty)Bane. He is predeceased by parents William F. Griffith Sr., Marie Dexter Griffith, brother Dexter Sr., and sisters-in-law Barbara and Lillian. Mark enjoyed antique phonograph restoration, working in his garden, practicing his Navy morse code key technique, and “imparting wisdom” to his grandchildren. Visitation- Friday June 14, 3-5 and 7-9 pm; funeral Saturday, June 15, 10 am at Pearl River Methodist Church. Internment- Highview Cemetery, Middletown Road, Nanuet. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations kindly be made to Kline Hospice House, 516 Trail Ave., Frederick, MD 21701; or Pearl River United Methodist Church, 130 Franklin Avenue, Pearl River, NY 10965.


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