A Eulogy For Griff

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.43.45 AMEulogy for Robert Griffin, delivered by Brian Hickey at St. Francis Xavier Church in Philadelphia’s Fairmount neighborhood, Nov. 28, 2015.

Many of you here today knew Bob Griffin much longer than I did. My thoughts and prayers go out to Michael, Rudy, relatives and long-time friends.

I first met Griff was sometime early on after moving to Fairmount in 2000. Found Krupa’s really quickly. And, one night, Griff was full-on Griff: 65MPH heckling.

Tommy Zach already froze him out so he turned to someone else and started stammering. And there was the Kryptonite: If you stammered b-b-b-back at him, he was done.

All’s fair in love and smack-talk, I guess. That’s why it was so easy to forgive the voodoo doll he brought with his hospital bracelet out one time in an unsuccessful effort to cause my Denver Broncos to lose a game.

I think when most people think back about Griff, they’ll give a nod to that side of him. But that’s nowhere near the full story, the real Griff.

He once told me that he wanted to be a belly dancer, and that he would have achieved this goal if he hadn’t have gotten shot when he was 21. It’s more likely what everybody else said: That he’s probably would’ve been a great pitcher.

That kind of setback could throw a person in any number of directions.

But the Griff I knew didn’t dwell in loss or bad luck or anger or rage.

The Griff I knew powered ahead in pursuit of living life the way he wanted to live it. And that’s exactly what he did, even if it meant being a pain in everybody’s butt.

The Griff I’ll remember is the guy with a heart of gold.

The one smiling ear-to-ear wearing a ratty old No. 12 Eagles jersey.

The one who had a Hess truck or some goofball gift for my son (or me).

The one who gave out Hawaiian shirts so people would wear them at his funeral, as some of you did today.

The one who checked in on any and everybody when they were down on their health or luck or spirits and perk them right up.

The one who, after the smack talk ends, would always be all like “yo, how’s this or that or he or she.”

The one who lived on his terms, even if that ended up working against him in the end. But that was his prerogative, and I would never begrudge him that.

I always clung to the hope that he was – as he’d been endearingly called by myself and others – a “cockroach” who’d outlive everyone. Life had different ideas, but only after it gave us the gift of Griff for the past 52 years. For that, we should all be thankful, and I’m sure everybody in here is.

Griff was a true original.

I think I speak for us all when I say the world’s noticeably emptier without him, and will always feel that way.

I’ll never forget Griff as a shining example of somebody who lived life his own way, and that way was caring more about others than about himself.

I loved, and will miss Griff, very much. I’m certain we all will.

 

(Remarks as prepared for delivery; actual speech varied a bit)

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