Griffin was born and raised in Oak Park, worked at the Chicago City News Bureau and WTTW, and served as a state representative in the Illinois General Assembly. He served with the U.S. Army in Berlin and witnessed President Kennedy’s visit to that city, and the aftermath of the president’s assassination.
A tireless supporter of Oak Park and unabashed fan of Ernest Hemingway, Griffin served as the Foundation’s ambassador to the Chicago area, speaking at libraries, fellowship groups and meetings across the suburbs. One of his most recent adventures was conducting a tour of 40 people from a local Explorers’ club.
He shared his love of literature with hundreds of people each year, always connecting Hemingway’s life to the way people live now, and the way they should live.
At a ceremony on Memorial Day last year, Griffin spoke eloquently of Hemingway’s writing on war and peace, saying:
“Hemingway made clear his view, based on his own wartime experiences that ‘abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene besides the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.’
“Hemingway saw such abstract words as empty, especially when cynical leaders used them to manipulate the masses. But he found the values these words stood for to be very real when people lived by them.”
“Redd Griffin’s contributions to all things Hemingway over the past four decades are incalculable," said Foundation Chairman John W. Berry. "The depth and breadth of his understanding of the past and current cultural landscape, that he so readily shared, touched a great many lives. We imagine that Ernest and Redd will now have another lifetime of very lively conversations.”
Visitation will be held on Monday, Nov. 26 from 3 to 9 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. Friends and family are asked to meet at St. Vincent Ferrer Church on Tuesday morning, Nov. 27 for the funeral Mass. The time has not yet been confirmed.