Laurence C. “Larry” Griffith, 94, Syracuse, died Thursday, June 20, 2013, at his residence.
He was born Oct. 5, 1918. On Oct. 25, 1947, he married Rosemary C. Schirmeyer, who preceded him in death in 2011.
Surviving are two daughters, Mrs. Dan (Lisa) Mikolajczak, Syracuse, and Mrs. Mark (Andrea) Stinson, Anderson; two sons, Terry (Karen) Griffith and Dan (Richele) Griffith, both of Syracuse; three grandchildren; seven step-grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; a sister, Virginia Hannum; two brothers, Donald (Kate) Griffith and James Griffith; and a sister-in-law, Doris Griffith. He was also preceded in death by a sister and two brothers.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held Tuesday, June 25, at St. Martin dePorres Catholic Church, Syracuse. Private family interment followed at the McClintic Cemetery with full military honors. Eastlund Funeral Home, Syracuse, was in charge of arrangements.
Memorials to the Alzheimer’s Foundation or the WACF.
Griffith was associated with Lake Wawasee
Through the years, there have been many prominent local people associated with Lake Wawasee who have passed away. Thursday, we lost another when Larry Griffith died peacefully at his home at the age of 94.
Born in 1918 in Fort Wayne, he first came to Lake Wawasee in April 1946 to start a maintenance business with a friend from Fort Wayne. Later in 1946, he purchased what was then known as the Ross Boat Livery. Eventually it became Griffith’s Wawasee Marina and was owned and operated by Griffith until his retirement. Today, the marina is still owned and operated by the Griffith family.
On Oct. 25, 1947, he married Rosemary C. Schirmeyer, who preceded him in death in 2011. Then in 1961, Larry had a role in planning and organizing the first Wawasee Flotilla. At that time, the flotilla was held in conjunction with Father’s Day weekend.
Griffith and the other organizers wanted to do something to help take people’s minds off two separate drowning incidents involving fathers during the spring of 1961. They came up with the idea of a parade of boats around Lake Wawasee.
In the early years of the Wawasee Flotilla, Griffith’s boat was used to lead the parade. Decorated pontoon boats were used the first few years because boat motors were not as big then and those boats would have a harder time keeping pace during the parade. Griffith was named commodore for the flotilla in 1978 and was heavily involved with planning the event for several years.
Since 1961, the flotilla has become one of the most recognizable local events and Griffith is to be credited for his role in helping to start it. Many make time in their schedules to see the flotilla, held in July now. It has become an event firmly associated with Lake Wawasee and is a wonderful family activity.
And fittingly, because Griffith was a family man. His family was always important to him and it showed. He was also a smiling and friendly man with an outgoing personality.
He served his country during World War II in the U.S. Army and was a member of the Syracuse American Legion and VFW. Griffith was also a member of Knights of Columbus in Syracuse and St. Martins de Porres Catholic Church, also in Syracuse.
When we think of Lake Wawasee, several things can come to mind but knowing there have been many involved in promoting it should not be forgotten. Larry Griffith loved and thoroughly enjoyed living on the lake and operating a marina there.
He will be missed, we are thankful for his involvement and we offer sincere condolences to the Griffith family.