Clifford James Griffith

Clifford James Griffith (BS Mech Egr ’50), age 80, of Nampa, Idaho, died at home April 17, 2011, after a lengthy illness.

Griffith was born on Dec. 21, 1930, in Lansing, Mich., to Clifford and Caroline (Hammond) Griffith. He spent his childhood days growing up on a farm in nearby Dimondale and attended a one-room school for the first eight grades. He graduated from Dimondale High School and entered MSU at the age of 16. He earned his degree in mechanical engineering in 1950.

Shortly after graduation, he moved to Detroit. One day he spotted a beautiful blonde-haired young woman named Clarice Arlene Torikka, who was walking down the street on her way to work. He stopped and asked if she would like a ride, which she accepted. The next day he called and invited her to attend a football game as his date. While there, he proceeded to tell Clarice that she was the girl he intended to marry. His dream came true and Cliff and Clarice were married on Sept. 11, 1952, in Laurium, Mich. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Oakland, Calif., of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Griffith was an engineer extraordinaire who could design just about anything. His career spanned nearly five decades of working for some of the most well-known companies in America. He was especially proud of a line of farm machinery he designed for International Harvester and of the bendable Barbie doll legs, which he designed for Mattel Toys. He held several patents for inventions that he created in his spare time.

Griffith enjoyed fly fishing, hunting, and traveling. He was an avid reader who loved books about history, especially ones about the founding fathers of our nation. He was a very patriotic man. He was an excellent photographer and left a lifetime legacy of photos for his family to enjoy. He was an accomplished banjo player, a computer wizard, and a man who enjoyed writing poetry. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had a love for the work done in the temples.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Clarice, and his 4 children: Suzanne (Reese) Leavitt of Melba, Idaho, John Griffith of South Carolina, Kathleen (Roman) Montague of California, and Jim (Becky) Griffith of Mississippi. He has 14 grandchildren and 2 special great-grandsons. He is also survived by 2 sisters: Doris (Al) Taylor and Norma Fredline of Michigan, and a sister-in-law, Nancy Adler, of California.