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Obituary: William Henry “Bill” Griffin, Jr.

General News

William Henry “Bill” Griffin, Jr. age 94, passed away peacefully at home on May 30, 2020. He was surrounded by his loving family at the time of his passing.

William Henry Griffin, Jr.
(07/03/1925 – 05/30/2020)

Bill was born in East Dublin on July 3, 1925. In 1937, his parents, Henry and Sara Griffin and his four sisters, Beatrice, Sara Jane, Peggy and Shirley moved to Cochran, Georgia where he graduated from Cochran High School in 1942. He began his college career at the University of Georgia in the fall on 1942. During WWII, Bill served his country in the U.S. Army from 1944-1946. He was stationed in Japan as an officer and later became a paratrooper.

He returned to UGA in the fall of 1947 where he met Rose Mills. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in business on April 4, 1949 and on July 24 of that year Bill and Rose were married. They had two children, Billy and Betsy. Rose passed away after forty-nine years of marriage.

In August of 1998 Bill married Sally Woodward Dunn, his “second soulmate”. They have resided at Turkey Creek Plantation, in Vienna, Georgia for the past twenty-two years. Bill lived his entire adult life in Cordele and Vienna, Georgia.

In 1948, while still in college, he began the operation of Griffin Lumber Company in Cordele, which today is run by his grandsons. His business interests aside from the lumber company have included construction, land purchases and management, and Cordele Sash and Door. Griffin Lumber Company was recognized in 2012 as an outstanding business in South Georgia for its contributions to the community.

Throughout his life he has been a leader in many different areas. In high school he was an avid member of the debate team, he earned the honor of Eagle Scout in his teen years, and he served as an officer during his military career. In later years he was elected as president of the Southern Lumber Manufacturers Association, during which time he received the Harold F. Beale Award for outstanding service to the industry. In 1983, Bill testified before the Senate Small Business Committee to help change the tax law which favored big businesses but did not recognize the needs of the small business community, especially farmers, regarding taxes on leasing equipment.

The First United Methodist Church of Cordele has been Bill and his family’s home church since his arrival in 1948. He began teaching Sunday school soon after joining and taught adult Bible classes for sixty-three years. He was a member of the Lay-Speaker Ministry and had the opportunity to fill a number of pulpits in the Americus District of the South Georgia Conference.

In his younger years Bill was an avid golfer and hunter. He enjoyed raising hunting dogs and quail to the recent day. His recent years have included riding the property on Turkey Creek Plantation, running and training his hunting dogs and spending time completing projects to encourage the continued growth of his beloved Southern Pines.

Bill was preceded in death by his first wife, Rose Griffin, his parents, Sara and Henry Griffin; his sisters, Beatrice Waters, Peggy Muldrow and Shirley Hixson. He is survived by his wife, Sally Griffin; sister Sara Jane Bradley; son, Billy Griffin of Cordele and daughter-in-law Cindi Griffin; daughter, Betsy Clinkscales, and son-in-law Sam Clinkscales of Blakley, Georgia; Step daughter, Sharon Driver (Chuck); Step-Son, Chip Dunn; his grandchildren; Will Griffin and wife, Niki, Jesse Griffin and fiancé Kristyn Boothe, Jeremy Griffin, CJ Griffin, Jeanna Ganas and husband, Andy Ganas, and Jason Clinkscales, Morgan Wells, Sydney Wells; and ten great-grandchildren.

William Henry Griffin, Jr. will always be remembered for his quick wit and his sharp business sense. However, his greatest joy was most realized in his love for his family and friends. He never missed an opportunity to get together with the people he loved. He was a very special man. We are all better for having know him.

The family will gather for a private funeral service. A memorial Service to celebrate Bill’s life will be planned at a later date when we all come together safely. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate a memorial in Bill’s name to Cordele First United Methodist Church Renovation Fund or Boy Scouts of America, Cordele Troop 270. Arrangements are by Rainey Family Funeral Services. An online guest register is available at

Source: Rainey Family Funeral Services