Charles “Chuck” Griffin passed peacefully in his home surrounded by loved ones on Sept. 29, 2017.
The son of Lt. Commander Horace and Mary Griffin, he was raised in Millbrae, California. A 1956 graduate of Capuchino High School, Chuck made close friends that lasted his lifetime.
After high school, Chuck enlisted in the Navy, serving on a Fletcher Class destroyer. As he was fond of saying, he saw “47 countries in 48 months.” This experience was pivotal for Chuck as it developed in him a strong love for his country that influenced him his entire life.
After the service, Chuck graduated from San Francisco State with a BA in English and a Masters degree in education from the University of San Francisco. After marrying a class of 56er, Lolita Bianchi, he taught English and coached track at Hayward High School for three years. A move to Sonora in 1968 began their love affair with Tuolumne County as he began a 25-year career of teaching at Sonora High.
A beloved teacher, Chuck taught English, speech and debate, and in the late ’70s established a licensed radio station, KTUO. It was one of the only radio stations to be established on a high school campus. Chuck also was an adjunct professor of speech at Columbia College for 10 years.
In 1972, their son, John, was born. Chuck was a fully participative dad, coaching Little League, raising honey bees, camping, hiking, sailing, skiing, golf, and running were a few of the activities they shared that has made this father/son bond exceptionally strong.
In the mid-’90s, Chuck became actively involved in the community serving on the County Planning Commission for several years.
Predeceased by his wife Lolita in 2004, Chuck found companionship with Kathleen Patterson of St. Helena. Over the past 11 years they have traveled all over the world and in the U.S.
Chuck knew how to enjoy life. He loved books, "a certified book alcoholic," birds, nature, golf, people, the SF Giants and red wine. His optimism and enthusiasm were contagious. He will be missed.
He is survived by his beloved companion, Kathleen Patterson; and son, John C. Griffin, and his spouse, Karen B. Griffin.
A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 14 at Sierra Bible Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the: The Griffin Scholarship, Sonora Area Foundation, 362 S. Stewart Street, Sonora, CA 95370.