B.J. never knew a stranger for long. He welcomed everyone into his heart and made sure they knew how much they mattered in the world. His sharp wit, humor, kindness and sincerity made a lasting impression.
B.J. was born in Pueblo, Colo., to Ben and Iva Griffith on Oct. 27, 1927. Growing up on a ranch near Villegreen, Colo., he learned early the value and reward of hard work. The family survived the Great Depression and the dustbowl days of the 1930s. After the tragic loss of his younger brother, Jim Bob, his family bought the Belleview Hotel in Trinidad, Colo. He led his basketball teammates to several basketball championships. He graduated in 1945 and joined the Army shortly thereafter. While serving in Korea as a special agent in the Counter Intelligence Corp, he was awarded a World War II Victory Medal and an Army of Occupation Medal.
Soon after returning from Korea he married his high school sweetheart, Lee Gollogher, in 1949. They had four children — Duane, Sheri, Mark and Ron. He acquired his real estate broker’s license and contractor’s license and built custom homes. After surviving a debilitating car accident that broke his neck and back in 1970, he left construction and the family moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., starting a lodging management company. With an idea to fill rentals and make good during the “off season,” they started Colorado Adventures, a river rafting company with their children.
Lee and B.J. joined Sheri Griffith River Expeditions in the 1980s. He managed the transportation needs for the rafting company. B.J. took care to work closely with the guides and drivers spending time helping them acquire any skill they wanted or needed to master their jobs. B.J. also worked with Griffith Production Services as a scout and coordinator for many commercials and movies shot in Utah.
B.J. and Lee loved to travel together and logged trips to more than 50 countries around the world, dozens of rivers from the Colorado to the Nile, and many wonders of the world.
B.J. loved his family. He was a father who raised his children with the belief that they could do anything they set their hearts and minds to. He had faith in them and their abilities. He saw value in everyone and was quick to encourage people to pursue their dreams. He taught the same to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He fought against bullying and oppression as he worked in Korea empowering a nation. He continued to build up and encourage others throughout his life.
He endured a few major accidents in his life and many losses. While his body and heart were in a constant state of pain, he strived to keep a positive outlook and hearty laugh. He was preceded in death by his parents Ben Griffith and Iva (Gray) Griffith, his brother Jim Bob Griffith, and eldest son Duane Griffith. He is survived by his loving wife, Lee, of 68 years, his daughter Sheri Griffith, sons Mark (Beth) and Ron (Kate), as well as seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life and full military honor service will be held at Spanish Valley Mortuary on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. We will be sharing stories of his life and welcome anyone to share a 1- to 2-minute story. Graveside services at Grand Valley Cemetery will be held Monday, Dec. 11.
Flowers can be sent to Spanish Valley Mortuary. The family asks that you consider donating in his name to Grand County Hospice, who helped care for him with love and appreciation.
You can send condolences to the family at www.spanishvalleymortuary.com.