Edward Osgood (Ed) Griffin

5 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – Edward Osgood ‘Ed’ Griffin, husband, father, teacher, inventor, tinker-er, veteran, and talker, passed away at the Presque Isle Rehab and Nursing Home on Saturday, September 15, at the age of 98.
Ed was born in Caribou, Maine, on June 5, 1920, the last of seven children of Osgood Bion and Anna (Sorenson) Griffin. He grew up at the family farm on Green Ridge, Caribou, where he attended the one-room school, then Caribou High School from which he graduated in 1938.
Though the family was involved in the raising of Morgan horses, Ed was always more interested in engines. This love would continue his entire life. After high school, he pursued that love by working at Caribou Motor Company until he joined the Army at the beginning of World War II, serving in the Army Air Corp, with the dream of becoming a pilot. Instead, he served in the cavalry on motorcycles, and taught mechanics at Fort Riley, Kansas. Ed spent most of his war years on the island of Tinian, managing the repair of ground service equipment in the 505th, B-29 Bomber Unit.
He was proud of his part in the war effort and shared a wealth of stories of those years, with anyone who would listen. One such story expressed his pride at being part of a B-29 crew that flew over Japan, dropping relief packages to the prisoners of war.
After the war ended, Ed returned home, married Betty (Greenier), and joined in business with two brothers in a Ford tractor dealership, selling tractors and farm machinery in Presque Isle. Griffin Brothers expanded in 1950 into the excavating business.
In the winters of 1954 and again in 1956, Ed, his wife and two children joined his family in a convoy of camper, trailers, and converted bus through the south to Arizona. While many of the family remained in the west, Ed returned to Presque Isle, and a few years later, bought out his brothers’ shares in Griffin Brothers, excavation and ground work, the business he worked at until he was in his 80s. This was his life’s work — equipment with engines, work outside, and people to talk to. In the winters of the early years, he worked one of his shovels for the State Highway Department loading sand, along with his own snow removal business.
The 1960s were the early days of snowmobiles and Ed dove right in. After all, they had engines and were fun. He expanded the winter business by selling Rupp snowmobiles and servicing all makes, often guiding young people in how to repair their own sleds. That desire to teach and guide also led to his teaching various classes in engine theory and mechanics at Presque Isle High School Adult Education and Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute in the 1980s.
Ed was always inventing and tinkering. He held a patent on the Griffin Panel Carrier, a device to facilitate carrying 4′ x 8′ panels by one person, and received a state grant for his work on an alcohol plant using cull potatoes to create fuel. He made innovative modifications to many common items, because in their original form they were good, but one or two of his tweaks made them uniquely perfect.
He built his home and camp at Echo Lake where he raised his family. Boats, floats, and all kinds of clever things were also built to enhance the fun.
Ed enjoyed hunting and fishing with lifelong, now deceased, friends, Dana Bishop, Dudley Ashby, and Glen Hitchcock. In 1966, Dana, Ed, and Dudley built a camp at Big Machais Lake. This camp served as home base over four decades for hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling trips for them, and later for Ed’s family and their friends. He was always striving to provide a good time. This place, the events, and the characters would become the basis for some of his best memories and stories.
Much time was spent with Ed teaching his sons mechanics, construction, metal fabrication, and boat and canoe building. He often said that in building things, the anticipation of the result was as pleasurable as the realization of it.
Ed was predeceased by his older brothers, Stacy of Caribou, Van and Harold of Mesa, Arizona, Percy of Winthrop, Maine; an infant sister Marion; and sister, Melvina (Vicky) Jackson of Orono, Maine.
He is survived by his wife, Betty (Greenier) Griffin; his children, Lyn Edgecomb of Mapleton, Tom and wife, Nancy, of Presque Isle, Dana and wife, Becky of Prospect, Kentucky, David and wife, Ronnette, of Presque Isle, and Sue (Griffin) and husband, Mark Yerxa, of Lisbon, Maine, all of whom learned much about life, love, and values through the stories he told and the way he lived. He also leaves a legacy of ten grandchildren; and fourteen great-grandchildren.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held on Saturday, September 29, at 11 a.m. at the Grant Memorial Methodist Church in Presque Isle, with a reception to follow in fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, or Destination Imagination, c/o MSAD #1 Middle School DI, 569 Skyway Street, Presque Isle, ME 04769, who encourage the creative thinking that Ed admired and exhibited. Online condolences may be expressed at Duncan-Graves.com.