Elaine Betty Griffin print


Elaine Betty Griffin
December 15, 1937
March 4, 2016


    NAPLES - Elaine Betty Griffin passed away Friday morning, March 4, 2016, at Maine Medical Center in Portland. She was 78. Her son and daughter-in-law were by her side as she left this world and entered into Eternity. In recent years she had been plagued by dementia - and more recently, cancer - both of which she fought courageously right up to the very end.
    Elaine was born on Dec. 15, 1937 in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. She spent much of her childhood in Saugerties, N.Y, growing up with her Uncle Bill, Aunt Aida and Aunt Maude. They were times she spoke about fondly. She was raised by her mother Evelyn and step-father Henry Wiley (having never known her real father). Later in life she held a special appreciation for her step-father… for how hard he worked, and how good he was to her.
     Elaine was a graduate of St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Girls High School on Lexington Ave, Manhattan, N.Y. In October 2015, she attended her 60th Reunion… and despite her worsening dementia, enjoyed the fulfillment of that day.
     While still very young, she raised her two sons John & Matthew by herself… often working nights and weekends to survive. In her thirties, she worked in Advertising at BBDO on Madison Ave., while also attending night school at Queens College. She was driven to better herself… not only for her sake, but also for the sake of her two young sons. Elaine had stacks of books on Politics, History, Presidents and Great Women in history. She always championed helping the under privileged, and believed that WE ALL need to help each other in this life… and this world. Her son Matthew recalls that while living in a small one bedroom basement apartment, Elaine helped a work associate who was struggling to raise 3 kids alone and was faced with eviction. She welcomed them into her home… a small, hot, basement apartment. They remained there though the hot summer of 1968 till the end of that year when they found a place to live. That was Elaine!!
    In 1977, at the age of 40, Elaine moved to Portland and started an advertising agency, Griffin Associates. She also worked at L.L. Bean and AAA… retiring in 2001 from the Portland call center. While there, she forged lifelong friendships with Sandy, Donna, Jo Anne, Bobbi and many others.
    In her later years she moved to Naples to be closer to her son Matt and his wife Tricia… as well as Tricia's parents, Joe and Pat Morrissey. While living in Naples, she formed the Lake Region Writer's Group, which met monthly at The Casco Library. Elaine herself was an accomplished writer, having completed a book called "BitterSweets". It captured the story of her friendship with a couple she had known in advertising. All the remarkable was the fact that she did this even as her dementia was worsening.
     Elaine was a beautiful woman in every possible way… physically, intellectually, and spiritually. She was a devoted mother and friend. She also had a wonderful sense of humor. Her loss is so profound, but her life leaves a legacy of many examples from which to draw upon... even as we struggle to go on without her.
    She was predeceased by her parents, Henry and Evelyn Wiley; her former husband John Griffin; her eldest son John Griffin; and her very best friends Sandy and Billy. She leaves behind her youngest son Matthew and his wife Tricia Griffin of Naples; brother Phil Wiley and his wife Barbara and their children Michael and Kelly of South Carolina; sister Donna Zyrski of Long Island, N.Y. and her children Chris and his wife Lindsey of Texas; Karen and her husband Rob and their daughter Kaitlyn of Long Island; Lauren and her husband Javier and children also of Long Island; granddaughter Abby and her husband Michael and their children Lilly and Noah; granddaughter Carly and her partner Jannah; life-long friend Deborah Smith; and finally the entire Morrissey clan - who though she met later in her life - she held very near and dear to her heart. The list of friends is many… please forgive those who we may have forgotten.
    The Griffin family would like to thank the GREAT people at The Casco Inn, who cared for Elaine for the past 18 months: Sharon, Cindy, Leigh and Jo....to name a few. Also the kind staff at Ledgewood Manor, Windham, and the wonderful Nurses at Maine Medical CICU Unit. Thank you with our all our Love!!
Visiting hours will be Wednesday, March 9 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Hall Funeral Home, 165 Quaker Ridge Road, Casco where a funeral service will take place on Thursday, March 10 at 11 a.m.
    In Elaine's memory, please donate to any organizations that cares through understanding (and WITHOUT discrimination): Preble Street Resource Center, St. Jude's Children's Hospital or the Westbrook Animal Refuge League. If you can't donate your money, then donate YOURSELF to helping people who need help. The world is less one of those today… but perhaps we can fill this huge void left by Elaine's passing. Have a toast with a Glass of Red Wine (Elaine's Favorite) to One Helluva Woman!!!


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