SFC (retired) William (Bill) Roscoe Griffith, passed away on Thursday morning, September 15, 2022, with his daughter and son in law by his side. He was 86. The past few years he courageously battled Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia that worsened over the past 6 months. He was born on November 2, 1935 in Relief, North Carolina to Conway and Dolly (Cooper) Griffith. He was the 2nd oldest of 11 children. Around the age of 10 his family moved to Erwin, Tennessee, where his Father purchased a very small 2 bedroom family home. He slept with his brothers outside in the smoke house so his sisters had a warm place to sleep inside. When Bill was a teenager he began working at a local tire shop “recapping” tires. The local business, Garland Tires, is still open today. Bill truly had a passion for working on automobiles and continued working there until he was able to enlist in the United States Army on June 8, 1955. After basic training, he was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division (Spearhead) where he was stationed at Ray Barracks in Germany with the famous singer, Elvis Presley. His next assignment was at Ayers Kaserne in Germany, and then he returned to Ft. Sill, OK to work with the Pershing Missile System. While training at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, he frequented a local drive-in located in Socorro where Bill met his future bride, Shirley Greenwood. He spent every free moment romancing Shirley. He was certain she was the one for him so he proposed and they were married on January 6, 1961, in Socorro. They celebrated 61 years of marriage this year. They returned to Lawton/Ft Sill and resided at the Doe Doe Trailer Park and made many new friends. In 1962, Bill was stationed in Korea but before he left, he adopted Shirley’s two year old son, Monty Wayne. In 1963 he returned from Korea to Lawton/Ft Sill. In 1965 he again received new orders for Germany. This was an assignment on which the family could accompany so Shirley packed up her family and they were off to Haunstetten, Germany. After learning that Shirley could no longer bear children, they decided to adopt. In January 1966 they received exciting news that their new born baby girl of Greek descent was born and they named her Kaliopi Schymani Griffith. Bill was now a very proud father of two. In December of 1968 they returned to Lawton/Ft. Sill, where he and Shirley purchased their first home. Nothing made Bill happier than being able to provide a nice home for his family. He also began working part time for Howards DX Service Station in 1969. In the later part of 1970, Bill received orders to return to Germany. Since they had recently purchased their new home, Bill decided to travel alone this time. In 1971 he took leave to come home for the Christmas holiday. Schymani had Bill wrapped around her little finger and cried and begged when he left to “go with her Daddy”. Bill was broken hearted so in the spring of 1972, he arranged for the family to be moved overseas with him. Bill and his family were together for his last 3 years in Neu Ulm, Germany. In the Spring of 1975 he and the family returned to Lawton/Ft Sill. Bill retired March 1, 1976 after 21 years of faithful and dedicated service to his country.
Bill received numerous awards from the Army for his excellent service, but was most proud of his years on the Color Guard, where he could honor and display the flag that so many have fought and died for. He also was designated as a “Master Driver” of many military vehicles, which lead him to his next career. He completed months of intense training and became a certified automotive mechanic. He resumed working for Howard’s Texaco full time, as well as driving the AAA wrecker for 20 years. Bill didn’t care much about retiring, he was happy with 2 weeks of vacation so he began delivering milk for Oak Farms Dairy until those early morning deliveries started taking a toll on his health. In 1997 Howard’s sons Kenneth, Paul and Jimmy purchased C & W Auto Salvage and began business as Priest Brothers where Bill again was a faithful employee well into his eighties. Bill and Shirley’s declining health finally convinced him to fully retire. Bill treasured his 50 year relationship with the Priest family, which went far beyond his employment, until his passing.
He is survived by his daughter, Schymani McCall and her husband Allen, and his son, Monty Griffith, of Lawton. Three grandchildren, Nathan Griffith of Lawton, Matthew McCall and his wife Ginny, and his great granddaughter Parker Ryann McCall of Edmond, McKenzie McCall Saleh and her husband Aasim, of Oklahoma City. Three brothers, Clyde Griffith and wife Charlyne, Walter Griffith and wife Pam and Jimmy Griffith and wife Dianne, three sisters, Lucille Griffith, Virginia Griffith Hoyle and husband James, and Lola Griffith Nelson, and sister-in-law Joan Griffith; a niece, Sharon Greenwood Joiner and her husband Roy, a great grand nephew, Seth Rogers, and a dear friend, Mary Harrison. He and Shirley had kind hearts when it came to animals. Bill had a loyal dog, Dutch, who brought sparkles to his eyes and a special kitty named Pepper. He held a loving place in his heart for numerous close friends and all of his nieces and nephews, but especially the Howard Priest family. Kenneth, Paul and Jimmy meant the world to him and were truly like his own sons.
Bill was preceded in death by his lovely wife Shirley on June 12, 2022, his parents, Conway and Dolly, his three brothers, Tomy, Halvie and Charlie and a sister, Ann Lee, as well as his dear friends, Robert (Chief) Lockhart Sr, Howard Priest and Ed Harrison.
Graveside services with military honors will be held Friday, September 23rd at 10:00 am at the Fort Sill National Cemetery, near Elgin, Oklahoma. Services are directed by Ray and Martha’s Funeral Home, Hobart, OK and Rev. Mike Teel of Cameron Baptist Church, Lawton.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or locally to the City of Lawton Animal Shelter.