Robert Marion Griffith was born Oct. 27, 1919 to Karl Cook and Mattie Griffith in Palestine. He was the third of seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Griffith.
Robert graduated from Palestine public schools in 1937, and enjoyed attending his Palestine High School class reunions until their last reunion, which was held in 2000.
Prior to serving in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, he worked for Guthrie Drug Store, Eilenberger's Bakery, Missouri Pacific Railroad and Woolworth Department Store. It was during his time of employment with Woolworth's that Robert met his bride of 73 years, Cora Maxine Turner of Slocum, Texas.
Robert established a reputation early on for his dependable, faithful service when he accompanied Mr. Lively, the manager of Woolworth's, throughout East Texas whenever he opened new stores. Robert would engineer the warehouse/inventory end of the business.
After the War, Robert applied his electronics training, installing and repairing jukeboxes for Ray Barnes company in East Texas.
Hunt Oil Company tranferred the family to Eagle Lake in 1953, where they made their home for the next 60 years. Soon Robert established his reputation as a public servant as he helped form church softball leagues, coached little league baseball and served as a referee in area football games until he became the voice of Eagle Lake Athletics from 1964 to 1980.
Robert served as chaplain of the Salvation Army in Eagle Lake for more than 40 years, and later as a chaplain for the local Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Robert was the former president of civic organizations including Rotary International and Eagle Lake Chamber of Commerce.
He was a faithful servant of the Lord wherever he was, ordained a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Palestine, under the Rev. Dr. D.D. Summerall. Evangelist Angel Martinez preached his ordination service.
Robert continued to serve as deacon and his service helped guide various ministries until he was named Deacon Emeritus on his birthday, Oct. 27, 2013.
Robert was a renowned Sunday School Superintendent, expert coffee maker, perpetual dishwasher and general servant of those in need.
Robert passed away on Dec. 15, 2013, at Rice Medical Center.
He is survived by his children, daughter Robbin Clipson of Eagle Lake, and son Robert Jr. “Bob” of Powder Springs, Ga.; grandchildren, J'Amy Dingler and her husband Lance of Pappilon, Neb., Shea McClanahan-Lavers and her husband Tom of Geneva, Switzerland, Griff Clipson of Austin, Talitha Rapoport and her husband Jeff of Canton, Ga, Jordann and Lindsey Griffith, also of Canton, and Gattlin Griffith of Atlanta, Ga.; great-grandchildren, Addie Kate and Hayes Dingler, Alice Grace Lavers and Caidenn Griffith.
Robert was preceded in death by his parents, KC and Mattie Griffith of Palestine; wife, Maxine T. Griffith; brother, Jack Griffith of Palestine; sister, Pauline Mehaffey of Rockdale; and brother-in-law, Ed Wilson of Palestine.
Graveside service for Robert Griffith was held Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 at Roselawn Cemetery in Palestine.
A memorial service was held Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 from First Baptist Church in Eagle Lake.
Pallbearers were Griff and Richard Clipson, Frank Griffith, Jordann Griffith, Kathie Hartzog, Peggy MeHaffey, Char and Stu Weinstein.
Honorary pallbearers were deacons of First Baptist Church of Eagle Lake and Guy Hemphill.
Final arrangements were under the direction of Eagle Lake Funeral Home.
Memorials can be made in his memory to the Salvation Army.