Charles James Grant Griffin, 67, of Manhattan, Kansas, died peacefully at home on April 21, surrounded by his wife and daughters. Charlie was raised in Evanston. After graduating from Northwestern University, Charlie served four years in the U.S. Navy. Upon his return, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri before becoming a faculty member of the Department of Communication Studies at Kansas State University. His primary research interests were rhetorical criticism, the history of American public address, and the rhetoric of religion in American life. In his 33 years at K-State, he was a beloved professor and colleague to many.
Charlie would not have wanted to list his achievements, which perhaps is the best way to summarize him. He was the very definition of humility and sacrifice. His compassion, generosity, and kindness were abundant. He was the devoted husband of Dorothy Griffin (née Morse) for almost 40 years, and the dedicated, loving, and often exasperated father to Marion Marie and Elizabeth Frances; and welcoming father-in-law to Will and Justin. Last year, he became ‘Grandpa’ to Charlie Eleanor and was excited to welcome another grandchild this summer. Further, he was a cherished brother, son-in-law, and uncle to an extended family who all admired him deeply.
Charlie fought hard against Multiple System Atrophy for many years, but on Wednesday finally succumbed to it. MSA robbed Charlie of so many things, but what it could never take from him was his quick wit, sharp intellect, and infectious charm. We choose not to dwell on what this disease took from us, but instead remember our Dad as the goofy, caring, and hardworking man that he was: a man who could so often be found standing in the kitchen late at night eating ice cream and popcorn, who could not say “no” to his daughters and thusly was caregiver for many pets he claimed he didn’t want. We remember how easily he could forgive. We remember his selflessness and wisdom. We remember his beautiful way with words, spoken and written. We remember his cheerful laugh and gentle demeanor.
Survivors include his wife, Dorothy C.M. Griffin; daughters Marion (Will) Heck, Elizabeth (Justin) Wheatley; brother Andrew (Wendy) Griffin; sister Dorty Nowak; and granddaughter, Charlie Eleanor Griffin Heck.
Charlie joins his parents, Leland and Dorothy, in death. Those of us that he has preceded will feel his absence always. We are all so thankful to have known him and been loved by him. A memorial gathering will take place in May for his Manhattan, Kansas, friends, followed by a small family gathering in Evanston later in the summer.