Leona Griffin

Obituary of Leona Marie Griffin

Leona Marie VanCanneyt Griffin was born August 5, 1926, in Burtrum, Minnesota, to Cyril and Lois VanCanneyt. Born and raised on a farm near Burtrum, Leona graduated from Gray Eagle High School and then moved away to attend Business College in Minneapolis. Leona’s first job was as a secretary at Munsingwear Clothing Company in Minneapolis. While living in that area, she attended a Christian youth camp in Wisconsin, where her young faith in God became deep and personal. This camp is also where she met her future husband, Joseph Griffin. After returning to Burtrum to get married, she moved with Joseph (Joe) to Wessington Springs, South Dakota, where Joe was a college student. As her new husband matriculated, Leona taught seven students in 7 grades in a one-room schoolhouse in the country. After Joe completed Jun-ior College, they moved to Seattle, where Joe continued his college education at Seattle Pacific College, and Leona became a secretary for the US Army at Fort Lawton. When daughter Peggy and son Steven were born, Leona became a stay-at-home wife and mother. She was a wonderful mother and the ultimate homemaker. One morning at women’s Bible study at church, Leona learned of a 9-day old baby who needed a home. The following day, this baby boy, Rodney, joined the Griffin family. When slim Leona suddenly had a newborn baby in her arms, her friends joked that they didn’t even know she was pregnant! This wonderful addition was the delight of the entire family, and along with Peggy and Steve, the family enjoyed a home filled with laughter and joy. Griffin family life was surrounded by involvement at church and activities with church friends. As Joe always said, “The doormat is out; the door is open. Please come over.” Leona was highly gifted at hospitality. Many Sundays, the Griffins hosted dinner at their home after church at North City Free Methodist (Shoreline Free Methodist Church). On these occasions, they often included new friends they had just met that morning at church. Leona’s roast beef and gravy dinners, culminated by one of her award-winning pies, were legendary. While Joe entertained guests around the table with his humorous stories and jokes, Leona continued to pour coffee and share her quiet kindness through hospitality. As the children became older, Leona rejoined the workforce as a secretary at Seattle Pacific Col¬lege and subsequently at New York Life Insurance. But far more important to her than any paid position, Leona loved her family. Throughout all the circumstances of her life, Leona focused on her personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He was her Rock, and anyone who stayed in the Griffin home was aware of Joe and Leona’s evening prayers together. These included petitioning God to care for each family member by name and specifics, followed by other concerns of life. In 1991, Joe retired, they bought a motorhome and hit the road for two years. Eventually, they settled down at Sky Valley Park (Palm Springs area). While living there, Leona continued to use her hospitality talents to deepen friendships with new friends at the park and many vaca¬tioning old friends and family members. Never one to sit back in retirement, Leona volunteered and applied her secretarial skills at the park’s church office. By nature, Leona was quiet, but she always had a ready smile, a soft laugh and displayed many acts of kindness. She was always an encourager. Leona graced those around her with positive words, fresh coffee and goodies (usually cookies), and welcomed all who stopped by to visit. Even in her later years, she continued to join in with the kids as they slid down slides in a park, jumped in the waves at the ocean, and played Skip-Bo until everyone was exhausted. Faith, Family, and Friends; this was the foundation on which Leona built her life. Today, she leaves us with a lasting legacy of love and kindness. She is survived by her daughter, Peggy Swanstrom (Sig); son, Rodney Griffin (Diana); daughter-in-law, Rhonda Griffin, 15 grandchil-dren, and 35 great-grandchildren. On September 10, 2021, Leona passed away at the age of 95, 16-months after Joe. They were married for nearly 71 years and are now back together again. <b><i>A Celebration of Life service for both Joe and Leona </b></i>will be held on Sunday, November 7 at 3:00 PM, Shoreline Free Methodist Church, 510 – 175th Street NE, Shoreline, WA 98155. Remembrances and memorials can be sent to Shoreline Free Methodist Church.
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