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Lena Griffin, Johnson City

Published January 20th, 2012 10:24 pm

Lena Hagerty Griffin, formerly of Gainesville, Florida, passed away on January 19, 2012, at Appalachian Christian Village in Johnson City, Tennessee, at the age of 94.
Mrs. Griffin was born Lena Zimmerman Hagerty on March 26, 1917, in Birmingham, Alabama. Mrs. Griffin was a loving wife, mother and a lifelong educator. After graduating from Phillips High School in Birmingham, she earned a bachelor’s degree at Judson College in Marion, Alabama, and a subsequent master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Florida as a specialist in reading instruction.
Mrs. Griffin taught public school for twenty-four years in Alabama and Florida. She then served for eight years as reading coordinator at Chiefland Elementary School in Levy County, Florida.
After retirement, Mrs. Griffin remained active in her community, teaching conversational English at the First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Florida, and representing the Alachua County Retired Educators Association as a volunteer with the Alachua County Literacy Network. She also served on the Florida Retired Educators Association literacy board.
As a member of Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO), Chapter I, Mrs. Griffin worked closely with her international students, three of whom (two from Thailand, and one from India) received the organization’s International Peace Scholarship.
As an active member of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), she received two National Community Service Awards for her contributions to the Santa Fe River Literacy Fellowship and for her work with the Alachua County Retired Educators.
Mrs. Griffin’s great loves, other than her family and literacy, were music and community service. She attended symphony concerts, played the piano, and sang often. Her family well knew that the smell of freshly-baked cake meant there would be half of a cake to enjoy for dessert; she would take the other half to a local family in need of care or encouragement. Her children would often accompany her on these visits, learning the importance of community service and compassion.
She was active in her membership at First Baptist Church in Lake City, Florida; Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville, Florida; First Baptist Church in Kingsport, TN; and attended Central Baptist Church in Johnson City, TN; since moving to Johnson City.
Mrs. Griffin was preceded in death by her husband, John D. Griffin Jr.; her parents, Bertha Dare and Phillip T. Hagerty, of Birmingham, AL; her brother, Barton Hagerty, of Durham, NC; her sister, Mary Ruth Hendrix, of Montgomery, AL; and an infant daughter, Linda Carolyn Griffin.
She is survived by her son, John P. Griffin, of Dayton, TX; daughter, Sue G. Lockett, of Johnson City, TN; son Richard D. Griffin, of Alexandria, VA; daughter Jan L. Griffin, of Asheville, NC; and five grandchildren, six great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Sunday, January 22, 2012, at 3:00 PM in the Sunrise Chapel of Tetrick Funeral Services with Dr. Ron Murray officiating.
The family will greet friends from 1:00 PM until time of the service.
A brief Graveside and Committal service will be held on Monday in Mountain Home National Cemetery at 11:00 AM. Family and friends are asked to meet at the cemetery by 10:50 AM.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Central Baptist Church Music Department, 300 North Roan St., Johnson City, TN 37601; or P.E.O. Foundation at P.E.O. Executive Office, 3700 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312-2899.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family and viewed online at or faxed to (423) 610-7177.
Arrangements for the Griffin family are in the care of Tetrick Funeral Services, 3001 Peoples St., Johnson City, TN 37604. (423) 610-7171