Robert Howard Griffen, MD, of Springfield, Illinois, formerly of Destin, FL and Franklin, PA, passed away peacefully, Monday, September 18, 2017, with his family by his side. He was born June 2, 1926 in Ellenville, New York to Arthur Wellington and Sarah Catherine DePuy Griffen.
Howard met the love of his life, Helen Florence Sliviak, at Waynesburg College, after he returned from WWII. He served his county in the Army Air Corps and was honorably discharged as a Corporal. They married June 21, 1949. Together, they received their medical education at Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia, graduating in 1953 and entered private practice in Mechanicsburg, then Butler, PA. After a number of years in general practice, Howard completed a residency in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at Shadyside and Western Pennsylvania Hospitals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Howard was an avid bowhunter and fisherman. He had may wonderful wilderness adventures in Canada. He was a private pilot obtaining his commercial pilot’s license and piloted his own planes. He was an accomplished sailor, and sailed in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, often with his wife. After retirement, he and Helen volunteered as medical missionaries on multiple trips to Kenya, Africa. He was an active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for many years. They resided in Destin, Florida for many years before relocating to the Springfield area to be nearer family in 2016. Helen, his devoted wife of 67 years, passed away March 21, 2017.
Howard was a devout Christian with an unshakable faith. He had numerous friends and touched many lives. He was active in churches throughout his life. He was very well read and his intellectual curiosity was present his entire life. He was extremely charitable to all. He will be greatly missed by many including his daughter, Sally Diann (Richard Butman) Griffen of Naperville; son, David Leon (Sue) Griffen of Springfield; grandchildren, Timothy (Cherryl) Marcey of Lisle, IL, Elizabeth (James) Harvey of Springfield, IL, Emily (Kyle) Franke of Chatham, IL, Deborah (Jeff) DeVore of Mt. Lebanon, PA, Gwen Griffen of Chatham, IL; 14 great grandchildren; sister, Marjorie Ruth Ritts of Bucks County, PA; and many nieces and nephews.
Howard’s family will greet friends at a memorial gathering from 10am-11am, Saturday, September 23, at Staab Polk Memorial Home, 8855 State Rt. 4, Chatham, IL, 62629. A Celebration of Life Ceremony will follow at 11am, with Mark Huber officiating. Stories of Howard's remarkable life will be shared at an informal Remembrance Reception immediately following the ceremony.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Saint Joseph’s Home, Continuing Care Fund, 3306 South Sixth Street Road, Springfield, IL 62703, www.stjosephshome.org Please visit www.staabpolk.com to offer your condolences.