Dennis Michael Griffin
Last updated 11/23/2020 at 4:54pm
Our beloved husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend, Dennis Michael Griffin, 64, received his invitation to heaven at 8:30 p.m., Nov. 16, 2020. He fought a valiant battle against cancer with all the determination he could muster and his strong willed Griffin-Queen genes. His body gave out before his will. He brought an irreplaceable light and love into our lives with his quick smile, his hugs, his gentle kindness and his brilliant wit.
His sister, Linda Dills, and his parents, Howard and Dorothy Griffin, predeceased him.
He is survived by his wife of 16 and one half years, Cathy Griffin; his daughter, Katherine, and granddaughter, Rayghan; son, Matthew, and wife, Jennifer and grandson Ivan; brother, Bill Griffin, and wife, Carolyn; sister, Sandra, and brother, Kenneth; several nieces and nephews, a great-niece and great-great niece.
He was gifted to Howard and Dorothy Griffin Jan. 2, 1956. The last words his dad said to his mom as she entered the hospital was, “have me a boy.” She dutifully obeyed, with a little help from him. He was the fourth of five children.
As a youngster he developed a love for the outdoors at a very early age, often helping his dad cut and stack firewood, helping and learning the construction business. He learned life lessons, which included when dad told you not to do something you didn’t get a second warning, especially when a little boy thinks he can out run his very fit, ex-paratrooper father. He learned quickly that that was not a good idea and promised himself he would never do it again.
As a very young child, he and baby brother, Kenneth, thought it was a good idea to melt crayons on the wood stove in the living room. They happily giggled and watched them melt and run down the side, creating lovely color patterns. Apparently mama didn’t think that was a good idea, or fun. Needless to say, they never did that again, having a slight bit of trouble sitting at the dinner table that night. He loved to go riding around with his older siblings and, being an introvert, that was a good thing. He got to go out with them and he didn’t have to talk because they took care of that, which made everyone happy.
He learned to drive at a very early age and that set him free in the world. He dumped his bicycle for four wheels. He fell in love with cars, trucks, graters, anything he could drive. After a couple of inconvenient car accidents and contributing to Transylvania County by way of speeding tickets, he slowed down. After all, he said, “You can have money to buy gas to drive and have fun, or you can not have money for gas if you have to contribute to the county.” Lesson learned.
He worked several jobs but finally landed in construction, along with his father and brother, Bill. He chose masonry, the hardest part of construction, he would confess later. His dad suggested that electrician or framer would be easier, but in his mind, a challenge gave him energy. He owned his own business for many years and later in life admitted, his Dad was right.
There is hardly a street or a road in the county and upper parts of South Carolina that you can’t find something that he didn’t work on – residential, most of the fireplaces around Lake Toxaway, commercial, such as the Asheville jail, several schools in the county, and golf courses. But his forte was fireplaces and there was no competition to his excellent work. Need a house built requiring an 80-foot scaffold off the side of a mountain? No problem, because if it needed to be done, he was the man to do it. He never left a job site cluttered with his materials because, as he said, “Why should someone else have to pick up my trash?”
He later drove over the road for Averitt Express for several years. He then came back home and went to work for McNeely trucking. He truly loved his coworker friends and bosses. He loved driving his truck through his lovely Blue Ridge Mountains every day because he drew life from these mountains. Once a mountain boy, always a mountain boy, in his mind.
He was a lover of music and could tell you the name of the song in two notes. He could tell you the band name, band members and their albums. Music was life and breath to him – bluegrass, gospel and country. The love of music led him into taking dance lessons. He became a star student, often going to lessons four nights a week and dancing Friday and Saturday. He did need Sunday off to rest, he said. He even danced with a couple of groups and on live TV several times.
He loved his family wholeheartedly. He would drop anything he was doing to run and go help whoever called. He loved family gatherings, holidays and reminiscing about the escapades of youth. He loved his children. When he became a father, those were the happiest days of his life. He loved and cherished his children and later his grandchildren. He always tried to be encouraging to them and gave good advice and helped however he could. They were light in his eyes. Katherine, Matthew, Rayghan and Ivan, you were all adored and cherished.
He loved motorcycles, purchasing his first one at age 12, and was never without a bike of some sort, and continued to have two to this very day. While he loved the street bike that he and his wife would ride, his passion was dirt bike riding. He and Matthew spent many hours doing just that.
He loved old NASCAR, Dale Earnhart being his hero, so much so that he had a life-sized poster of him in the garage. They were the same age with close birthdays. He would go back often, even while he was sick and watch YouTube videos of the old races many hours a day, just reliving old memories.
He had a photographic and radiographic mind. He could see something once and recall it 20 years later. He was able to have a conversation and recite it word for word months or years later. That was amazing. With those qualities, he also had a very high IQ, and loved mathematics. He could talk about anything from the Constitution and naming the amendments, to the difference between nuclear fusion and fission. His brain was amazing.
He was a man of unquestionable integrity, beloved, generous to a fault, kind, always a good word. He rarely spoke a bad word about anyone and, as he would say, “I forgive because I make a lot of mistakes and need forgiveness.” He was the hardest working man and the very best man I’ve ever known in my life, bar none.
He and his wife met at a Christian singles dance in Greenville, S.C. They began dating and never looked back. She said the Lord actually gave her a vision of him before she left Texas, and when she saw him, she knew he was the man of the vision. She didn’t know, until sometime later, that his sister and cousin had to drag him to the dance, almost at gunpoint. They dated for a year-and-a-half and he would put her through tests that he later confessed to her. She had no knowledge of it at the time. She would drive up to visit and he would say, “Matt and I are going dirt bike riding, so here’s some money go shopping.” She thought, “Wow, I came all the way up here and he gives me money to go shopping while he goes dirt bike riding? That’s absolutely awesome....” They would run over each other to see who could get out the door first. She liked him. There were other tests that first six months and apparently she passed. They had a beautiful wedding at Two Step Junction, his idea. Life was good. Later, during his illness, that lasted three years, they talked about how only a wife or husband would understand the depth of commitment that is necessary in difficult times and circumstances. She knew that he would have lovingly taken as good of care of her as she did him. She could sing his praises all day and never tell you all about him.
Mike Bradley gave him a great gift by visiting and inviting him to church. He was a Christian and loved the Lord. They attended church when they lived in Texas, even making it on TV at Pastor John Hagee’s church. He had several wonderful encounters with the Lord. He became very close to God in the last year. The Lord loved him so that as he became sicker, he allowed him a peek into heaven to see his parents as young and vibrant, talking and laughing. He viewed them in a 360-degree angle and it was so detailed he could see their eyelashes. They did not see him. That brought so much peace and hope to him. It was a special gift, just for him, from his heavenly Father.
Thank you Mike Bradley for that invitation to church. Thank you to friends and family and church for helping them on this journey. Thank you, Father, for the invitation to heaven and greeting him with open arms. We love Dennis and we will miss the light and life he gave us every day.
Funeral services were held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, at Holly Springs Baptist Church. The family received friends one hour prior to the service. Internment followed the service at Blue Ridge Gardens of Memory.
Online condolences may be left at http://www.moodyconnollyfuneralhome.com.