Frances (Arminta) Cox Griffin died at home on December 9, 2019 at the age of 97. She was born February 15, 1922 to Percy Claude Cox and Jessie Mable Cox (Mead) in Heppner, Oregon.
She married Roland “Ronnie” Koff on October 29, 1938 and they later divorced. She then was married to Norman Beryl Griffin, an ex-POW of WWII, on December 9, 1945 until his death on November 24, 2005.
Frances worked as a telephone operator in Heppner for Pacific Telephone and Telegraph. Later working for Sears & Roebuck in Portland in both the toy department and sign shop, setting type by hand and soon becoming the department head. Over the years there were other retail jobs, but her greatest job was caring for her family and friends.
Mom told wonderful stories of her life growing up in and around Heppner. Of living in the mountain cabin during the summer; of her adored daddy and her most beloved grandfather, Franklin Dee Cox; of leaving her sister one day to wash dinner dishes by jumping bareback onto her horse, Dixie, and quickly riding away.
She had a great passion for genealogy before it became popular, and spent many years researching family history, including month-long summer trips across the US; visiting dusty courthouses and out-of-the way gravesites; stopping to ask questions of a farmer at work in his field and learning that person was actually related. Getting invited to dinner and having dozens of new relatives show up to meet her. Distant relatives that she kept in touch with for all their lives. It happened all across the country. How open and welcoming people were in those years. She wrote a number of books on the various families that made up our history and gave them out to family members.
She loved her iris and roses, and had photo albums full of pictures from every year. When you showed up and flowers were in bloom you were escorted to look at each one and hear its tale.
Frances is survived by her children; daughters Virginia Lee Martinez of Ione, OR, Nina Louise Sikel of Portland, OR; son Norman Phillip Griffin (wife Jeannine) of Silverton, OR; daughters Sheryl Lynn Derting of Salem, OR and Talia Lee Griffin (adopted great-granddaughter) of Salem, OR; her sister Marlene Grey (husband Mike) of Ione, OR; numerous nieces and nephews; many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren; her honorary grandson, Shaun Best, who lovingly cared for her these many last years; non-relatives that considered her “Grandma”; and her special lifelong friend (they shared a baby pram as infants!) Norma McMahon.
She is preceded in death by her husband (just two months shy of 60 years) Norman; her mother and father; brother Stanley Cox; sister Nina Harshman; granddaughter Dawn Dailey and great granddaughter Jade Allen.
Frances will be buried with Norman at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, OR on December 18, 2019. Her funeral will be at 10:00 am on that same day at Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service in Salem, OR.
It’s fitting that she passed on December 9th, as that was her and Dad’s anniversary. They shared it together in Heaven this year.
Guest Book Entries
Rest In Peace Grandma Griffin. You are one of the sweetest persons I have ever known. You will be missed by all but never forgotten. Tell Grandpa Griffin hi.