Vernon H. Griffin (Ed.D. ’66)

Vernon Griffin, 95, our beloved husband and father passed away on May 19, 2020, in his Temple residence. Dr. Griffin was born December 10, 1924, in Somerville, TX. He was the son of the late Cornelius and Nora Moore Griffin. Vernon’s father signed permission for him to join the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor before completing his senior year at Somerville High School. He attended Sound School in San Diego, CA, and served on the USS Oakland in the Pacific as Captain Phillip’s talker. He was awarded the Good Conduct and Victory WW II Medals, Asiatic Pacific Area 8 stars, and Philippine Liberation 2 stars. Following his discharge at the end of World War II he married the late Elizabeth A. Thoma in San Diego. He was graduated from Somerville High School based on his military training, He graduated from Blinn Junior College with an associate’s degree, Sam Houston University with a bachelors and master’s degree, and a doctor’s degree in education from the University of Houston. He was employed by Port Arthur Independent School District as teacher, principal, and director of elementary education. He worked at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX, as professor of education and director of graduate studies. Following his retirement from public education, he attended seminary and served as minister of two Methodist churches in Hemphill, TX. He is a member of First United Methodist Church in Belton, TX. In 2000, he married Thelma Butterworth Williams in Belton, TX. He is survived by his wife Thelma, daughters Toni Hopper, Shirley Lavern Wiedman, the late Patti Davis, son Jay Williams, granddaughters Melanie Hopper, Cassie Rudolf, Amber Courtney, Johnnie Hugo, grandson Steve Williams, 12 great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. Memorial donations may be made in Vernon’s name to The Wounded Warrior Project or American Cancer Society. Graveside services will be held at 2 pm Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at Oaklawn Cemetery in Sommerville, Texas. Harper-Talasek Funeral Home in Belton is in charge of arrangements.

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