[Masthead] Fair ~ 65°F  
High: 76°F ~ Low: 54°F
Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ronald James Griffith

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ronald James Griffith
Ronald James Griffith passed away on Thursday, March 12, 2009, after a courageous and inspiring battle with pancreatic cancer. Ron's brilliant and inquiring intellect, commitment to family and community, outstanding professional leadership, and generous heart will be missed by many people.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 28 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Northfield, Minn. Visitation will be held on Friday evening 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the church Reception Room and again 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. before the service. Interment will be at Oaklawn Cemetery, Northfield, Minn., with funeral arrangements by the Bierman Funeral Home of Northfield. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Ron Griffith Young Leaders Fund www.northfieldymca.org are preferred. On line guest book at biermanfuneralhome.com

Ron was born on April 4, 1943 in Harlan. Growing up in Cherokee. Ron was engaged in Cub Scouts, 4-H, Methodist Youth Fellowship, varsity athletics and numerous school-related activities. Before graduating from high school in 1960, Ron married Linda Joy Sagness in 1959, welcoming their children in 1960 and 1961.

In 1960, Ron entered Iowa State University (ISU). He graduated in 1963 with a B. S. degree, a major in electrical engineering and membership in numerous honor societies. At age 20, Ron accepted a job offer from Bell Telephone Laboratories and moved to New Jersey. He entered Columbia University and earned M. S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1965 and 1969.

In the early seventies, Ron accepted his first management position. While living in Morristown, New Jersey, social change through church renewal became the primary focus of Ron's life. His marriage ended in 1972.

Bell Labs transferred Ron to Naperville, Illinois in 1974. Ron also worked at the global headquarters of the Institute of Cultural Affairs, Chicago. There, he met Beret Brown Hanson, marrying in 1976. They returned to New Jersey in 1978 and transferred to California in 1988 where Ron began a series of senior executive positions in Silicon Valley.

After a bout with prostate cancer, a trip to Minneapolis in 2001 changed things forever. Over three days, they visited Northfield, Minn., purchased a home, returned to California, and soon set off for Northfield, never looking back.

Retiring to Northfield was a wonderful choice. They were near family, long-time friends, and their beloved Wisconsin cabin. Ron was enthusiastically involved in launching the Northfield Co-op, Just Food, opening in December 2004. Other pursuits included serving on the Planning Commission and the Northfield Energy Task Force's Wind Turbine Working Group.

Ron's love for Northfield was a reawakening of his affection for local community rooted in Cherokee. It was Morristown and Northfield, not Bell Labs or Silicon Valley, which allowed him to experience the truth of one of his favorite sayings:

"Meaning is all we want.

Choices are all we make.

Relationships are all we have."

Sandor P. Schuman

Perhaps in the end it was "spirit-filled adventurer" and not "engineer" that best describes Ron's essence. Community brought meaning to his life. Engineering is how he made his choices. Relationships are what he most cherished.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents Albert R. Griffith and Evea Maxine (Savidge) Griffith and by his sister JoAnn Marie (Griffith) Woodall.

He is survived by his wife, Beret Elizabeth (Brown) Griffith of Northfield, Minn. and children: Dana Erin Griffith; Brian Andrew Griffith (Lani Kian); Greta Elizabeth Hanson (Rogelio Gaytan Silva); Chrystina Ellen Hanson; Benjamin Daniel Hanson (Cassandra Miles Hanson); eight grandchildren; mother-in-law Elizabeth Krause Brown; brother-in-law William John Woodall of Cherokee; nieces Gayle Rae (Woodall) Gustafson (Steven) of Cherokee; and Gwen Leigh (Woodall) Voss (Hank) of Hartley.