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Apr 4, 2019 2:19 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Donald Griffin Of Westhampton Beach Dies March 31

Apr 9, 2019 1:33 PM

Donald Webb Griffin died on March 31, 2019, at his home in Westhampton Beach, of cancer. He was 84 at the time of his death, and would have been married 62 years on April 21.

Born in Southampton on December 11, 1934, he attended Southampton Public Schools, graduating in 1952. Excelling in sports, Mr. Griffin was the catcher on the 1951 baseball team, when Southampton won the Suffolk County Championship for the first time.

He graduated from Cortland State College in 1956 with a degree in health education. After graduation, he accepted a job teaching science in Westhampton Beach, where he started in the junior high school and eventually taught biology in the high school, where he remained until his retirement 36 years later.

In 1957, he married his high school “sweetheart” May Frankenbach. They moved to Westhampton Beach, where they raised their four children. Mr. Griffin loved teaching and coaching, especially baseball and soccer. He also umpired baseball games for many years and kept the clock at basketball and wrestling matches.

He was a member of the Westhampton Presbyterian Church for many years and served on the Session as well, as a trustee, and as a deacon.

After his marriage, his second life commitment was to the Westhampton Beach Fire Department, where he served as a volunteer for more than 60 years. During his time he was president of the Benevolent Association, treasurer, driver, fire policeman and a fire education instructor. Other firemen often joked that he slept in his clothes, because he was usually the first responder to arrive at the firehouse.

Having a family was a priority, but having fun was important too. He enjoyed boating and going to the beach with his family. He and his wife also loved to travel and were avid campers who started in a tent and then eventually owned a Winnebago motor home. They were proud to boast that they slept in every state except Hawaii.

Mr. Griffin is survived by his wife, May; and four children, Gail Klepper and husband Mark of Remsenburg, Greg Griffin of Southampton, Gaye Bugenhagen and husband Jay of Annapolis, and Gini Wagner and husband Bryan of East Quogue; a brother, Graham of Bridgehampton, and seven grandchildren, Jenna, Alyssa, David, Matt, Jake, Taylor and Griffin.

Memorial donations may be made to Westhampton Beach Fire Department Benevolent Fund, the Westhampton Beach Fire Department Scholarship, or the Hurricane Education Foundation through the Westhampton Beach School District.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Werner-Rothwell Funeral Home in Westhampton Beach.

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