Shirley K. Griggs
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Shirley Jean Kelly Griggs died peacefully in her sleep on June 26, 2021. Known as Kit (to friends) and as Tutu (to her family) she was born on August 21, 1928 in Peekskill, NY. She was the daughter of Arthur and Cornelia Kelly and grew up at Blue Mountain Reservation in New York state, one of several Westchester County Parks superintended by her father. Growing up Kit gained her love of natural plants and animals by hiking in the park land. In high school she played trombone with the band which led to her love of band music and Kit played in community bands (Upper Valley Community Band and Lyme Town Band) well into her 80's.
Kit graduated from The University of Rochester in 1950 with a baccalaureate in Nursing while taking a number of choral courses at the Eastman School of Music. Shortly before her graduation from the University of Rochester, she was married to Walter Chapin Griggs, a University of Rochester medical student. They were married at the Peekskill Presbyterian Church on April 8, 1950.
After graduation Kit worked at Highland Hospital in Rochester, NY as a pediatric head nurse and at a Red Cross blood donor unit. The couple moved to Charlottesville, VA where she worked on a neuroscience unit while her husband pursued a medical residency program.
Thomas C. Griggs was born in Charlottesville in 1952. In 1954 the family moved to Laupahoehoe, HI where Dr. Griggs served as physician to the Hamakua Mill Company and Kukaiau Ranch on the big island of Hawaii. Peter W. Griggs was born in Laupahoehoe in 1955. Elsie Tanaka, a local high school student, joined the family that year to assist with the children. The family then moved to another Hamakua mill town, Paauilo, where sons James (Kimo) S. Griggs (1956), and Kelly C. Griggs (1958) were born. While in Paauilo they met David and Daniel Kim while attending St. Columba's Episcopal Church. David and Daniel would later join the Griggs family after they moved to Vermont. While in Paauilo Kit sang with the Gleemen of Hawaii, touring the main islands.
The Griggs family moved to Haworth, NJ in 1960 while Dr. Griggs pursued a second residency in New York City. While in Haworth Kit enjoyed singing with the St. James Episcopal Church choir, a community choir, and a harmony quartet.
In 1963 the family moved to Norwich, VT where David and Daniel Kim joined the family. Kit happily joined the Upper Valley Community Band (UVCB), became the Assisting Nurse for Ophthalmic Surgery at DHMC and was also the Assistant Dean for Summer Programs for Dartmouth College. In addition, Kit provided housing for four US Olympic Team women rowers while they were training at Dartmouth in preparation for the Los Angeles, CA Olympics. Kit and Kelly travelled to Los Angeles to visit Dan and David and attend the 1984 summer Olympics to cheer on the rowers.
In Norwich Kit became fully involved in community activities including Secretary of the Norwich Women's Club, President of the Norwich Arts Association, and singing with the Dresden Madrigal group, small Dartmouth Chorus, and St. Thomas Episcopal Church choir. She served twice on the St. Thomas Episcopal Vestry and graduated from a four-year Ministry Service (EFM) devised for non-ordained persons of faith while a parishioner. Kit helped to found the Upper Valley Interfaith Project (UVIP), and served as the St. Thomas Church representative on the UVIP Board of Directors. Kit was recognized with the "Micah Hero Award" for her work on negating predatory lending in New Hampshire and providing payment from FEMA for qualified flooding survivors in Vermont.
As President of the Friends of Hopkins Center she persuaded the executive board to provide a summer housing fund to a group of young artists who became renowned as The Concord String Quartet. The Griggs family was also host to two "A Better Chance" (ABC) students and Kit served as President of the ABC Board. One of the students the family hosted from that program, Herman (Boo) Thomas, later joined her family.
After her divorce in 1980 Kit enrolled in Russell Sage College in Troy, NY obtaining a Master's Degree in Nursing (teaching track) in 1982. She joined the faculty at the Vocational/Technical College in Claremont, NH where she helped to establish the Associate Degree nursing program and served on the State Faculty Senate. For a number of years, she wrote test questions for the National RN Examination. Upon retirement in 1999 she served as a Visiting Faculty at the Nursing Program at the University of Tasmania in Australia. During her professional career Kit was a member of the American Nurses Association, The National League of Nursing, and was on the Course Verification Committee of the NH Nursing Association.
At the end of her professional career Kit became a world traveler often accompanied by her good friends Willy Black and Carol Blake. She toured New Zealand with a birding group and then drove up the east coast of Australia. She also visited Costa Rica and went on safari to Zimbabwe and Botswana. Kit had previously visited Tanzania and Kenya with Jim Doherty, Curator of the Bronx Zoo. She also visited China, Tibet, Peru, the Amazon, Egypt, and the Nile. With a chorus from Nashua, NH she visited Great Britain and with the Upper Valley Community Band she visited Germany, Austria, and France. After touring with an Ornithologist in Kenya Kit joined birding classes locally and completed winter bird feeder counts for Cornell University.
A celebration of Kit's life will take place Friday, August 27. For those wishing to give a memorial gift please donate to the Nature Conservancy, UVIP, VT Ecosystem Agency, or the Norwich Trails Committee. The family wishes to thank the staffs at Valley Terrace, Hanover Terrace, Margaret Pratt Community, and Genesis for Kit's care while she was in residence.
Kit is survived by sons: Thomas Chapin Griggs, wife Ann, and their children Russell and Whitney.
Peter Wesley Griggs, wife Sydney Smith, their daughter Abbie and husband Matt Taylor, and son Charles. Son James (Jamo), wife Jen, children Rita and Duke.
James (Kimo) Safford Griggs, wife Abby and their children Wesley and Walter.
Kelly Chapin Griggs, wife Dianne, their son Ben, wife Rachel and son Shepard. Son Adam and partner Lena Dechamps. Dr. Daniel Y. Kim The wife of David Y. Kim, Jane, and their adult children, Brian, Chris, and Alex and their families.
Additional family: The adult children and their families of Kit's sister, Martha Stone and brother-in-law, Roger Stone. James and Elsie Doherty, their son Christopher and his family, and their daughter Donna. Herman (Boo) Thomas, wife Regina and their children. Alan and Janice Cook and their family. The Cook family have been long time friends and were important people in Kit's life.
Kit was predeceased by David Y. Kim, her sister Martha Stone, and brother-in-law, Roger Stone.
An online guest book can be found at rand-wilson.com