In Memoriam: Dave Griffiths
(Editor’s Note: At the end of the Community Garden workday on October 24, Eddie Beach led people in paying tribute to their fellow gardener, Dave Griffiths, who passed away last week. Dave was one of our Distinguished Davidsonians, and you can find that article about him here.)
By Eddie Beach
Dave retired to Davidson about three years ago. He graduated from Davidson College in 1973, loved his college, and quickly embraced the town. He moved from Ewing, New Jersey, where he had been a social studies teacher, dean of students, and coach at Ewing High School. As a student in the ’60s, he was an outstanding student-athlete and was named to the school’s athletic hall of fame in 2002. One statement from the school system’s release especially applied to his involvement at the Davidson Community Garden. It said he was “widely respected as a student-centered educator who cared deeply about the community.”
Dave became a volunteer at the garden shortly after arriving in Davidson. The garden’s motto is “Tend some–Take some–Share a lot.” Dave definitely tended the garden but went beyond that to tend the gardeners. He always greeted new volunteers and helped them feel welcome, especially students and anyone just moving to town. It could be said that Dave put the “community” in community garden. He loved to help with groups from the college, local schools, and churches. He managed our Facebook page and created a marvelous three-minute slide show, featuring volunteers and harvests and flowers.
Several people from the garden sent me their remembrances of Dave:
One said, “I am saddened to learn about Dave’s passing. He was a jolly man and always had a smile on his face. I enjoyed seeing him in the garden and around town. Every time he passed by Mandolino’s, he greeted me with an enthusiasm that made my day significantly better. I will keep Dave in my prayers and know he will live on in spirit in the community.”
And from another, “What a loss to the wonderful community, but what a gift to have known him.”
And, “I am so sorry to hear of Dave’s passing. Dave’s ability to break the ice and warmly welcome each volunteer by name really transformed the space into a community. Whether you were a Davidson town resident, a Davidson student, or part of an outside group, Dave made a genuine effort to get to know you and welcome you to the space. It was an honor to have known him.”
And from a friend in New Jersey, “Please let all of the Club members know that Dave loved them. Somehow the Club members took this scholar athlete, world traveler, scotch-sipping Yankees fan who couldn’t even grow dandelions back in New Jersey and turned him into a mini-farmer. He loved every minute of it! Griff loved sharing pictures of the garden and Club members with his friends, and those friends are spread over five different continents on the globe. We loved hearing his garden news.”
Dave’s legacy is the caring spirit he brought to the garden and now the challenge to all of us is to keep that spirit alive.
At the end of our gathering, my wife and fellow gardener, Connie, announced that we have planned to create a garden area honoring Dave. Several donations were given that very day, testimony to the love Dave brought to us and the garden.