Born: September 26, 1928
Died: May 11, 2014
Harley J. Griffith, Jr. 1928 – 2014
Harley J. Griffith, Jr. –known as “Griff” by family, friends and the many lives he touched—died Sunday at University Place. He had been in failing health for months. He is survived by Carol, his wife of 63 years; three sons: Kerry (Nina), Chicago, IL; Greg (Linda), Cleveland, OH; and Brad (Tiffani), Chicago, IL; five grandchildren: Amy Griffith Graydon (Ben); Adam Griffith (Anne); Anna, Joseph and Sara Griffith; two great grandchildren, Henry Nash and Nora Etta, and a third due in September.
Griff was preceded in death by his parents, Harley Sr and Lee Etta Griffith, the two people he always credited with instilling in him a strong work ethic, the drive for lifelong learning and a decided passion (sometimes confused with temperament) for understanding the clear difference between right and wrong.
A longstanding Fowler Bulldog, Griff was born on September 26, 1928 in Fowler, Indiana. His paternal grandparents had come to Benton County from Stockland, IL and his mother’s parents had relocated there from Rocky Branch, Kentucky. He graduated from Fowler High School in 1946. From there, he attended Indiana Central College, partially funded by a basketball scholarship, where he graduated in 1950. He was selected to the Indiana All Star basketball team in his senior year.
After graduation, he began a lifelong career in public education: teacher and coach at Goodland High School (the highlight was a Sectional basketball championship in 1955); principal of Chili High School in Miami County; and superintendent of the North Miami Consolidated School District. He gave up the superintendent’s job in order to become a fulltime student at Purdue University in pursuit of a Ph. D in education administration, the degree he was awarded in 1967. He joined Purdue’s Division of Conferences and Continuing Education where he spent more than 40 years, culminating in his being named associate director of administrative services.
Griff was equally dedicated in his service to the Greater Lafayette community. In addition to serving as President and various Board roles, he was Executive Secretary of the Rotary Club for twenty-one years. He was a founding board member of the Greater Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau where he is credited for leading the effort to propose and draft legislation creating an “Innkeepers Tax”, which became the model for similar legislation for many years. For his efforts and many contributions, Griff was presented the Sagamore of the Wabash in 1991 by then governor, Evan Bayh.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Hahn-Groeber Funeral Home, 1104 Columbia Street, Lafayette, Indiana, 47901 on May 15th at 6 p.m. Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Griff’s memory to Rotary Foundation c/o Rotary Club of Lafayette, P.O. Box 3923, Lafayette, IN 47966 or Trinity Methodist Church, 314 N. 6th Street, Lafayette, Indiana. Memories and condolences may be left at www.hahngroeberfuneralhome.com