In conclusion of a life well-lived, Dr. John Ryan Griffin passed away on March 14, 2023. His spirit was welcomed in Heaven by members of his family who have preceded him in passing; including his father, Edwin Griffin, mother, Margaret (Driscoll) Griffin, nephew, Dr. Peter Griffin, sister-in-law, Elaine Griffin and beloved uncle, Clarence Driscoll.
John was the fifth of seven children and is survived by all of his siblings, James (Jane), David (Elaine), Peter (Doris), Elizabeth (Jack), Andrew (Moira Collins) and Timothy (Suzy Vance). Holding space for him in this life are his loving wife, Atsuko, and daughter, Margaret (Adam Roberts). John will be deeply missed by his grandchildren, Isla (his favorite risk-taker) and McLain (whom he called his best friend) Gregorich, as well as their father, Steven. John's paternal affections also extended to Savannah Roberts, an enthusiastic recipient.
John was born on March 31, 1937 in Evanston Illinois. He was raised in the idyllic Griffin home on Dempster Street. His Catholic upbringing and education was a reflection of faith within the family. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago afforded many opportunities that John seized upon, including the Art Institute, Newberry Library, and Howard Street Hot Dogs.
A lifelong scholar, John felt blessed to be able to find a position he loved, teaching at the University of Southern Colorado, presently CSU-Pueblo, for 47 years. John’s extensive education included the completion of two Doctor of Philosophy degrees, the first in English from Ottawa University and a second from Trinity University in Dublin, Ireland. The latter dissertation, researching the Oxford Movement and John’s exemplar, Cardinal John Henry Newman became his life’s work. Dr. Griffin published numerous books, articles and spoken lectures on the topic of Newmanism. Dr. Griffin’s efforts provided impetus for Newman’s canonization in 2010, which was a source of immense gratification.
By unknown Design, John met Atsuko Tamura, his wife of 53 years, when their lives intersected at Southern Colorado Community College. They were married in Evanston, to the delight of many, young nephews and nieces who’s enthusiasm shone through the black and white images of their wedding day. John and Atsuko welcomed Margaret and the three of them lived as a close knit family. The extent of this was evidenced by the lengths they would go to support each other’s interests in education, travel, quilting, music, ballet and horses (which John always found perplexing). Even though he chastised Margaret for being taller than him, John was a devoted father and provided whatever she needed to thrive, regardless of circumstance.
Dr. Griffin was truly a Renaissance man, he spoke multiple languages, competed in many sports, played the violin, loved the arts and embraced life. John found beauty in nature and in other humans,even if they were challenged to find it within themselves. Possessing a true Servant’s Heart, he felt a calling to minister to the sick and isolated. John would do whatever he could to ease the way of anyone in need. Although there is a great sense of sadness and loss at his passing, there is also gratitude, peace and love that will carry those who miss him until we meet again. May God hold you in the palm of His hand. A funeral service will be held on what would have been Dr. Griffin’s 86th birthday, March 31, 2023 at 1:30 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 414 W 11th Street, Pueblo, CO 81003. An online memorial for John has been created at memorialsource.com/memorial/john-ryan-griffin.