It is with great sadness that we announce Michael R. Griffin, 63, passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY after fighting a valiant, year-long battle with cancer.
Born in Buffalo, NY on August 27, 1957, Mike was raised in Interlaken, NY where he sought out adventures (many unprintable for a dignified obituary) with life-long friends, Bobby English and John Keeler. A 1975 graduate of South Seneca high school, Mike went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree from Bryant and Stratton and a Master’s in Business Administration from Boston University.
Mike began his career at Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls, where he worked for a number of years and rose through the ranks, eventually landing a role on the company’s management team. His time at Goulds, and subsequent positions at other companies like Pentair, brought him to many parts of the U.S., such as Kansas City, where he called home for 13 years. During the years he spent in Kansas, Mike formed lifelong friendships with many people, including noted confidant and co-accomplice Deborah Dale, who quickly became part of his family. He went on to hold senior management positions at UTC and Sundyne, which afforded him the opportunity to travel the world and experience life in such countries as Australia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain.
His reputation for being a rabid Syracuse sports fan preceded him, culminating in his attendance at the 2003 SU basketball national championship, after which he was the centerpiece of a Sports Illustrated television advertisement that showed him at his best, joyful and among friends and family. His uncanny ability to debate both sides of any issue with style, ease, and grace often frustrated his debate opponents and gave him a somewhat earned reputation as a raconteur. He did his best speechifying on soapboxes at various local haunts, where he always knew (and took care of!) his bartender and was known to raise a glass or two while sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of history, finance, politics, sports – especially all notable Syracuse moments and players to pass through the university - and every hole of golf he or his partners ever played. His love of life was infectious, felt by everyone around him, whether they were long-lasting friends or new acquaintances. His presence always transformed the environment into a fun, inclusive, and communal experience (even if he tended to repeat many of his well-worn stories and jokes). And once you were his friend, he was loyal to you for life, offering the shirt off his back for anyone who might need it, without hesitation or being asked.
While his love of playing golf, having fun, and globe-trotting ran deep, it was clear that Mike was most peaceful when he was at Cayuga Lake, taking great pride and enjoyment in spending time with family and friends on his boat, marveling many visitors with his knowledge of the area and its more disreputable places.
Mike’s passion for living life to its fullest was eclipsed only by his love for his family. There is no doubt that his happiest and most important moments were those spent with his children, grandchildren, and closest friends. He was predeceased by his father, Robert Griffin, and is survived by his mother, Janet Griffin, and sister, Brenda Griffin. He was the proud father of Josh Griffin and his wife Sarah, Angela Reilly and her husband Mike, Andrew Wituszynski and his wife Sally, and Ariel Howard and her husband Andrew. Most importantly to him, he was a devoted and beloved grandfather to Liam and Olivia Reilly, Ruby and Jack Wituszynski, and Addison Howard.
Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, October 11, 2020 from 5-7 pm EST at the Covert Funeral Home in Ovid, NY. A celebration of life ceremony and event will be held on Monday, October 12, 2020. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mike’s name to the American Cancer Society (https://www.cancer.org/involved/donate.html).
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