August 7, 1930 — May 19, 2019
Thomas Kane Griffith, M.D., 88, passed away May 19, 2019, at his home in Eugene, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Tom was born August 7, 1930, in Des Moines, Iowa, to Everett M. and Catherine (Kane) Griffith. He grew up in Des Moines, attended the University of Iowa and the University of Iowa School of Medicine, and graduated with honors in 1955.
He interned at Harborview Hospital in Seattle and, at that time, married Jeanne Marie Hotz in 1956, and had a son in 1957. The family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he served with the United States Air Force at Eielson Air Base, for two years, as one of five base physicians.
After his discharge in 1958, the Griffiths moved to northeastern Iowa where he was a general practitioner.
In 1959, the family moved to Los Angeles, California, where they welcomed three daughters. Tom completed a four-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UCLA Medical Center, and started private practice in Northridge.
In 1965, the family moved to Corvallis, where Tom established Corvallis OB/GYN, where he continued in private practice until his retirement in 1995. While practicing medicine, he also served as an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Oregon Health Sciences University and was twice elected President of the Oregon Obstetrics and Gynecology Society.
Tom absolutely loved the out-of-doors and he, Jeanne, and their children spent many weeks hiking, camping, and backpacking the trails and mountains of the Northwest. The family also skied together for many years.
Tom was a member of the Corvallis Mountain Rescue Unit for 10 years. He proudly boasted of 16 consecutive years of back-country skiing and winter camping with a small group of similar-minded friends. He loved fly-fishing and spent many days on the rivers of Oregon and Montana.
Tom and Jeanne owned a 38-foot sailboat, the “Pacific High,” and they spent many years sailing the waters of Puget Sound, the Canadian Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound.
Tom was known for his adventurous spirit, generosity and keen sense of humor. He always had a smile on his face and a kind, encouraging word for others. He loved the City of Corvallis, where he compassionately helped those in need without judgment. He was a member of the Foundation Board at Good Samaritan Hospital, and a founder and member of the Board of Directors at Community Outreach, which continues to serve men, women and families experiencing homelessness.
Tom was a poor golfer and tried, but abandoned that sport at an early age. He and Jeanne rarely missed a game of basketball at Oregon State University and also enjoyed watching OSU wrestling.
Tom and Jeanne were avid supporters of the OSU/Corvallis Symphony Society, and almost anything musical.
An accomplished pianist, Tom relaxed in the evenings after work by playing a few tunes. His offspring agree that a favorite childhood memory is waking up late at night hearing Gershwin, Chopin or Rachmaninov. The music was wonderful, and it meant that Dad was home.
Tom is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jeanne; his children, Mike (Karen; son Evan), Sue Griffith (Sandy Heaton), Ann Huseby (Jon; children Michael and Katie), and Mary Fister (Jim); and his sister, Catherine Griffith Lowry (Jack).
Tom left an indelible mark on his family, friends, community, and the lives of those he met. He was much loved, and will be greatly missed.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Community Outreach, Inc. or the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis.
A celebration of life will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Corvallis, in the coming weeks.