Henry "Pete" Burnett Griffing, USMCR

Obituary for Henry "Pete" Burnett Griffing, USMCR

May 17, 2020
Audubon, Pennsylvania


On Sunday morning, May 17, 2020, our father "Pete" Henry Burnett Griffing USMCR (Chief Warrant Officer W2, ret), of Audubon, PA, passed away at age 98.
We could not have asked for a better father or role model. He lived a long life dedicated to his wife, family, and lifelong love for aviation.

Born in Blue Bell, PA on May 23, 1921, he was the son of the late ¬Alfred and Jennie Griffing. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Joanne M. Griffing, whom he married on June 10, 1950. Dad was a three-sport athlete and graduated Valedictorian from Whitpain High School in Blue Bell, PA in 1939. In 1943 he enlisted in the United States Marines and saw active duty in the South Pacific theater with Marine Fighter Squadron 218 seeing action in the Philippines where he volunteered to be dropped behind enemy lines to repair scarce Corsair aircraft while being hidden and supported by local Filipinos. Following the surrender of Japan, he continued service in China with the Marines in support of the Nationalist Chinese Government against Communist forces. Pete was one of 23 officers and men decorated personally by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in Tiananmen Square with the Special Breast Order of the Cloud and Banner for distinguished services rendered in disarming and repatriation of Japanese forces in North China. After the war, he served in the reserve out of Naval Air Station Willow Grove, PA, until full military retirement in 1966.

Following the war, he took employment at Wings Field, Blue Bell, PA, starting as a mechanic and working his way up to Service Manager and eventually to multiyear award winning Beechcraft aircraft salesman for Atlantic Aviation, and retiring as VP of Page Avjet in Philadelphia, PA. Subsequently, he opened Griffing Associates, Inc. with his wife to continue selling airplanes and provide corporate aircraft fleet consulting services.

It was at Wings Field that he met his future wife Joanne. She became his partner in Griffing Associates, Inc., and they remained active in the industry as members of the Beechcraft Old Timers Silver Fox Group, the Aero Club of Pennsylvania and the National Business Aircraft Association, Inc. Pete was also a long-time dedicated member of Kiwanis and former deacon of Jeffersonville Presbyterian Church, Jeffersonville, PA.

After full retirement, Pete and Joanne moved to Shannondell Valley Forge where they were fortunate to make many friends including residents, employees, and caregivers. In later years, he dedicated himself to ensuring mom had the best care possible when she developed Alzheimer's. He is now able to rejoin Joanne on their continued journey together.

Pete (dad or "Papa Pete" to many) was a wonderful husband, consummate Marine, loving and giving father, grandfather, and great grandfather, with a warm and subtle sense of humor extending to all including the employees and medical staff at Shannondell. He will be missed by all.

He is survived by his children Pamela Griffing Smith and her husband John Robert Smith of Collegeville, PA , their son Adam Randolph Smith and his wife Amanda Sbei Smith and daughters Taryn and Teagan of San Diego, CA; Stephen Peter Griffing and his wife, Vicki Vaughan of Danbury, CT and children Caitlin Erica Griffing of Bethel, CT, and Jack Tasso Fox of Omaha, NE; Carol Beverly Engel and her husband William George Engel of Moorestown, NJ, and their sons Christopher George Engel and his wife Taron Perry Engel of Delran, NJ and Kyle Peter Engel of Stamford, CT; Knans Beth Griffing and her husband Chad Hayes of Amherst, NH. He was predeceased by his siblings Ralph Griffing, Nelson Griffing, and Harold Griffing and survived by sibling Debbie Henderson.

To his fellow Marines: "Semper Fi"

To everyone else: "Thumbs up"

A celebration of Pete's life will be planned at a future time to be announced. A private interment ceremony will be at George Washington Memorial Park, Plymouth Meeting, PA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Einstein Montgomery Home Health and Hospice, 1330 Powell Street, Norristown, PA 19401 (610) 272-1080 in loving memory of "Pete" Griffing.

To share your fonest memories of Pete, please visit www.lifecelebration.com, 610-277-7000. Services to the family are entrusted to Boyd-Horrox-Givnish Life Celebration Home of East Norriton.

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Boyd-Horrox-Givnish Funeral Home, Inc.

200 West Germantown Pike
Norristown, PA 19401
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