S: Aaron Lee Griffith - 1966-1986
BC: This book is dedicated to the memory of Aaron Lee Griffith on the 25th anniversary of his tragic passing. He will continue to be loved and remembered, as an athlete, scholar, Christian, and a fine son and brother of whom his family could be proud. July 29, 1986 was a fateful day for the family. Aaron had been working at P&C supermarket and was riding his bicycle home late on that rainy afternoon when a dump truck towing a trailer with paving equipment turned without warning and took this young, promising life from us.
FC: Aaron Lee Griffith - 1966-1986 | 10-24 good buddy
1: 1973- The kids and julie | Jason Allen, Aaron Lee, Brian Dale, and Dawn Marie with Julie Lynn
2: It was January of 1970 when Aaron’s mother and I met. My first time spent alone with Aaron and his brother Jason was at a barber shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The barber assumed I was their father and asked why the boys kept calling me “Mic”. It was only a couple of months later that I became the boys’ stepfather and soon adopted them and gave them the Griffith name. | Most of our vacations involved camping, It always included our fifteen-foot runabout with all the kids learning to water ski. We often went with a group from church and taught most of the church youth group to ski as well. We slept in big two-room 10x15 tent. On one occasion Grandpa and Aunt Mae joined us on our a camping adventure.
3: The arrival of Julie Lynn on June 22, 1973 made all the boys "big brother," but it made Dawn a "little mother," now protecting not only baby Julie, but her little brothers as well, crying when they got punished. However, for Aaron just a stern word or a cross look was all he needed for discipline. He only wanted to please.
4: Dawn, Brian, Aaron, Jason, Julie This is one of the few formal portraits we had taken. The year was 1973 and we had just moved from our rental on Glen Court in Manassas to a new home on Middle Avenue near Lake Jackson. The boys loved living in the "woods."
5: Christmas was always a huge event for everyone in our household. The tree, sometimes cut by Dad and the boys, was surrounded by gifts piled high. In the kids younger years, presents didn't appear until Christmas morning. Later, gifts were marked with a secret code for each kid as they no longer counted on Christmas morning delivery by Santa. Sometimes they broke the codes, sometimes they were stumped. But there was always lots of excitement. | 1976 | CHRISTMAS JOY at the Griffiths'
6: Willing to try anything!
7: Aaron & Jason - Halloween - 1977 Panning for the camera with a sense of humor!
8: 1977 - Is it Christmastime again already? How the years fly by! But good times are remembered
10: Brian and Aaron playing hockey on Malletts Bay.
11: Coach Cieplicki presenting Aaron the award for Best Spot Shooting | Coach Conrad presenting Aaron the award for Best Defensive Player
12: Aaron with Dad, Dawn, and Julie Malletts Bay - 1979
16: Aaron clowning with spaghetti and best friend Eddie Wilbur. 1985
17: At 20 years old, in Aaron's final year, he was the best he had ever been. He had matured spiritually and identified his basic goals in life (see list of Aaron's goals), but he remained dissatisfied with his own degree of accomplishment. Aaron was a good student in high school (graduation shot above), but only because he worked very hard at it, spending hours on homework - never giving up. Not doing well on tests, Aaron approached the Scholastic Aptitude Test with considerable concern. His results were disappointing. Again, a second set of SAT tests, still just not good enough. He had hoped to be admitted to Oral Roberts University, but his hopes faded with the SAT results. But through a minor miracle (and much prayer - mostly on the part of his mother), Aaron was admitted – on academic probation. His first semester was satisfactory, but he wasn't satisfied. He did very well the second semester and was finally feeling some pride in his academic accomplishments. The end of his freshman year at ORU seemed to bring a contentment, Aaron finally felt as though he knew where he was going and had the ability to achieve his goals.
18: Needlepoint by Aaron
19: Aaron also was a talented artist, drawing in all styles and trying diverse media.
21: When Aaron was little, he hardly walked anywhere. He ran. He would call out “mom, time me” and he would run as fast as he could around the house. Aaron could run like the wind. One of my favorite memories of Aaron is when I went to one of his track meets. Aaron and one of his teammates had planned to run together and Aaron planned to let his teammate win. However, Aaron was too far ahead and his teammate had fallen too far behind. Aaron did a full 360 degree turn to check where his teammate was before crossing the finish line to win the race. His grandma was visiting from Michigan and witnessed this event which was a good thing because no one would ever believe it. Aaron held the school record for the 800 at 2:00.07 in 1985. Brian Fleming, Aaron’s youth counselor tells a story about when Aaron threw himself down on the floor and started scooting along on his back. Brian yelled “Aaron what are you doing?” Aaron replied, “I’m backsliding.” Aaron had a great sense of humor. For a long time after Aaron was gone, I could still see him out of the corner of my eye whenever I passed by the living room. He would be sitting on the floor with his bike turned upside down working on cleaning and adjusting his spokes. They had to be just perfect. He would do that while he watched TV and then during commercials, he would run outside and shoot baskets. I miss Aaron yet today. Mom
22: My Goals: Be a living Bible More open Less Moody Prayer warrior Study the Bible Intimate relationship with the Lord Public speaking Evangelism Cut back on radio music - More Christian tunes Pray for others more Try to please others Respect my parents more Active in youth group Not to unevenly yoke myself with others Sing Listen to teachings Faith that God will come through for me Forgiving and pleasant Quiet time everyday The ability to believe in what I don't totally understand Aaron Lee Griffith - Spring 1986
23: Aaron, You always had the highest of goals and expectations for yourself, and always had a difficult time being satisfied with your own (usually superior) performance. An outstanding high school athlete in both basketball and track, regardless of your accomplishment, your performance was never up to the exceptionally high standards which you set for yourself. Holding two school track records and being admired by others as a basketball star gave you little satisfaction. Frustrated at anything less than perfection, you became a champion at video games with your lightning reflexes, further developing your reflexes until you could easily beat me in table tennis, but still frustrated every time you missed a shot or – heaven forbid – lost a game. Being quiet and showing little openness or outward affection, it was hard to get close to you. You were not much for opening up or sharing or hugging, but you knew you were loved. After you were gone, my one prayer was that you knew how much I loved you. You remain in my heart. Love, Dad
24: I loved my brother, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him in some way or another. Now, almost 25 years after his passing, that emotion is less acute but it is an important part of who I am. I still have occasions when I remember just how much it hurt, and that time is unforgiving. I miss him when I see things that were special to him. For instance, he was a Celtic's fan. He loved watching Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Robert Parrish. I could never understand why he would watch a basketball game on television. Now, he would be quite comfortable at my house and would be happy to see that he could usually find a game on. He was a bit of a TV freak and loved Benny Hill (which I still don’t understand), Saturday Night Live, the Cosby Show and Family Ties. He enjoyed comedies. Aaron loved to make people laugh. I am sure I will never be able to see a CRASH helmet without tearing up (that seems a bit out of context, but it is actually funny.). So often I think of him – especially when I see my kids run. I am proud that my boys have many of Aaron’s amazing characteristics. He would have loved to see them compete. I compare their times to his. His competitiveness is ingrained in us. He would motivate them to match his time. Not beat it, just match it. He would still HAVE to be the best. Matt not only has Aaron as a middle name, but also has Aaron’s fierce competitiveness. A few years ago, Matt ran a great race at Burlington High School. I congratulated him for a great run and commented that he had a great kick at the end. He became angry with me, asked me if I saw him run and said that if he “had that much left” it was not a good race. I am sure Aaron would have said the same thing. He expected nothing but perfection from himself. It hurts so much because he still had so many things to do, so many laughs, so many moments we were not able to share. I’ll never see him married, have children or be able to share our stories and memories when we are old. Everything stopped that day. If anyone is in heaven, my brother Aaron is. And I know that he is happy. As we approach the 25th anniversary of the untimely death of my brother, Aaron Griffith, I wanted to write down a few thoughts because although he is gone- he will never be forgotten. A proud sister, Dawn
25: Hey Aaron, I know you're up there as after you left us, I had a vision of you on your bicycle one day when we were in Grand Rapids. I remember your athletic ability and how much fun you were. Wish I had more time with you. Love - Jason | Aaron, We butted heads as competitors often through our lives. I like to think that I was a part of that which drove you to excel. Smart, competitive, active, funny, driven, introspective, quiet yet boisterous, you were all of these, but they were not all of you. Your big little brother (only a few will remember that one), Brian | Aaron, Being the youngest of the five children, I was the one who spent the least number of years with you, but I may have also been the one who spent the most number of days watching you succeed at everything you did. I woke up early mornings to ride to your hockey practice, spent many nights watching your basketball games, weekends at your track meets and I even remember a few of your baseball games. I remember you being good at every sport you attempted. I was so proud to be the little sister of such an amazing athlete. All my memories of you are good ones, many still make me laugh, like the time you and Eddie adorned my face with food while I slept (ok, so maybe I didn’t think it was so funny at the time, but it makes me laugh now). I will always remember you as an athlete, artist and a comedian. I wish I could have spent more time with you here on earth. You are greatly loved and missed. Until we meet again, your little sister, Julie