Norma Elizabeth Griffing, 1922-2015

Norma Elizabeth “Jerry” (Johns) Griffing, 93, of Shaw Island, Washington, went to be with the Lord in the early morning hours of Monday, December 21, 2015. Jerry passed away peacefully in her sleep, lovingly attended by her devoted husband, Philip, and her children.

Jerry was born in Tacoma, Washington, on March 9, 1922 to Miles and Ruth (Norman) Johns, the eldest of their three children. Jerry grew up in Seattle, Washington and attended Coe Elementary School and graduated from Queen Anne High School, where she met the love of her life, Philip H. Griffing. After high school graduation, Jerry attended Mills College, in California and was a member of Tri Delta Sorority for one year; however, true love lured her back to the Northwest. She completed a second year of college at the University of Washington, before she married Philip Griffing on October 22, 1943, during the height of WW 2.

After the war, the couple made their home in Beaux Arts Village, in Bellevue, Washington. Jerry was very active in the Beaux Arts community, and a long-time volunteer bookkeeper and choir member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Mercer Island, Washington. She deeply enjoyed her work as a bookkeeper for many years, for a local psychologist. More than once, he dubbed her his true “co-therapist”. The couple has one son, Lee Griffing, and together the family spent countless hours enjoying the great outdoors, hiking, skiing, boating and cruising the glorious San Juan Islands, aboard their cabin cruiser, The Roanoke.

Jerry’s greatest joy was spending time with her family; her husband Philip, son Lee and his wife Deborah, and her two grandchildren, Kathryn (Griffing) Harrell and John Griffing. She was wife, mother, and grandmother extraordinaire, and she excelled at creating special family moments and enduring memories! Upon her husband’s retirement in 1984, the couple relocated permanently to Shaw Island, Washington, to the home they built together. It is no secret that Jerry hated to cook, but she loved people, and her cherished friends on Shaw Island were especially dear.

For nearly forty years the Griffing’s extended the gift of their hospitality to friends and family, sharing the beauty of the San Juan Islands as they hosted local friends, and people from around the world who delighted in staying at “The Little House.” Meals and social gatherings would include lots of laughter, dark chocolate (one of the major food groups), and end with her famous Rum Cake and strong Swedish coffee! Jerry will always be remembered for her great, loving heart, her kindness, her sparking laughter, and her enduring optimism and cheerful spirit! She brightened the day of everyone who knew her!

Jerry is survived by her beloved husband of 72 years, Philip H. Griffing, her son Lee and his wife Deborah, of Bellevue, Washington and her two grandchildren, Kathryn Harrell (Steve) of Issaquah and John Griffing, also of Bellevue. Also surviving her, are her cherished younger brother, Sam Johns, one niece and five nephews. Her parents and younger brother, Miles Johns, preceded her in death.

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held at the Community Center of Shaw Island, on Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 3:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions may be made in Jerry’s name, to The Community Building of Shaw Island, (C/O Carolyn Brantigan, President, Shaw Inc., Box 443 Shaw Island, WA 98286), or to the Salvation Army (111 Queen Anne Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109).

The Griffing Family would like to express our deep gratitude and thanks to the many wonderful friends and family, on and off Shaw Island, who have surrounded Phil and Jerry with love, care, friendship, and support for many years, and in these last months especially. To our outstanding caregivers, who made it possible for Jerry to remain in her home on Shaw Island, until she went to live in God’s house forever, providing skillful, attentive 24-hour care, we are very grateful and to whom we extended our deepest gratitude.