Lin Hugh Griffith, a Turlock attorney whose career spanned five decades and included extensive community involvement, died at Hospice House in Hughson, CA on March 8, 2014 at the age of 90. The cause of death was heart and lung failure.
Lin was born on November 12, 1923 in Hammond, In to Robert Heaton Griffith, a railroad engineer and World War I veteran, and Mary Jane Byer Harangody, a member of an immigrant Hungarian family. He grew up in Hammond, just east of Chicago, and graduated from Hammond High School in 1942.
Lin went to Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, OH until he enlisted on December 14, 1942 in the Army Air Corps. He became an active duty pilot in 1944 and flew a C-47 for the 64th Troop Carrier Group during World War II. He transported soldiers and supplies in Italy, France and Yugoslavia. Lin served as an active officer until January 16, 1946 and retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1969 as a lieutenant colonel.
Lin enrolled at Purdue University in 1946 with the help of the G.I. Bill and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering in 1949. He married Annabelle Stockton of Pleasantville, NY, a fellow Purdue graduate, that same year. Then they went by train from New York to California where Lin attended Stanford Law School.
Lin graduated from Stanford Law School in 1952 and moved to Merced, CA to become a deputy district attorney. Lin and Anne then moved to Turlock, CA in 1954. In addition to his private practice, Lin became a deputy district attorney for Stanislaus County in 1957. He eventually became the attorney for Turlock Irrigation District in 1971. Lin practiced law for nearly fifty years. The law office of Griffith and Masuda continue to represent TID.
He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church for well over 75 years. Lin organized the annual Masonic Constitutional Law Night for over 35 years. He was also a member of the Aahmes Shriners and Scottish Rite.
Lin was a member of the Exchange Club for 50 years. He was a 60 year member of the American Legion and organized its Memorial Day ceremony in Turlock for over 20 years. He also, was a life member of both the Military Officers Association of America and Stanford Alumni Association. Lin served on the Modesto Symphony Board for 9 years, and he and Ann were Modesto Symphony season ticket holders for 35 years. They attended the Carmel Bach Festival for over 30 years.
In his spare time, he was a voracious reader of history and newspapers, a big fan of Stanford and San Francisco sports teams, and an ardent lover of music of all kinds, from old time fiddling to opera. He loved the great outdoors, which he experienced by camping, backpacking and river rafting across the West up until his mid-70’s. Lin also loved to travel. Some of his favorite trips were to Antarctica (twice), Tibet, China, and Vietnam. He also traveled to South America, Europe, Canada and many states in the U.S.
Lin credited his Hungarian mother for instilling in him a love of reading and America and a desire to get an education and to become active in the community. Lin was known for his sense of humor, and outgoing, gregarious personality. He loved expounding on history and other topics, and was driven by an intense intellectual curiosity his entire life.
Survivors include his wife, Anne of almost 65 years. Lin is also survived by his children Martin (Carole) , Ellen (Rick Kitamura), and Paul (Betty). He leaves four grandchildren, Jed, Megan, and David Griffith and Derek Griffith Kitamura. He also leaves two nieces Donna Turlinski and Marcia Witkowski, and nephew Robert Griffith. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Mary, brother David, sister Nancy Ann and grandson Peter Griffith. He was the last remaining of 17 first cousins of the Griffith and Harangody families of his generation.
A memorial service and reception will be help at 2pm on March 15 at the First United Methodist Church in Turlock, CA. The Neptune society is handling the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First United Methodist Church, 1660 Arbor Way, Turlock, CA 95380 or Salvation Army, P. O. Box 3576 Turlock, CA 95381.