Jimmy Eugene Griffis Sr. was born July 16,1940. He was the son of John Henry Griffis and Inez
Leggett Griffis of Waycross, Georgia. He graduated from Ware County High School and shortly
thereafter joined the US Army. He was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany as a Military Policeman.
During his military career he was a disciplined and highly decorated soldier serving two tours in
Vietnam, and as a liaison officer at the US Embassy in Brussels, Belgium. He was awarded the
Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Bronze Star to name only a few of his
decorations. While serving his country, he also met the love of his life Johanna Van Den Eijnden
and together they had their two children, Bonnie Inez Maria, and Jimmy Eugene Jr. After 22
years of military service, he retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Following his time in the military, he finished his education receiving a bachelor’s degree in
business administration from Columbus University, and his master’s degree in education from
USC. He then transitioned into a second career as an educator, working first as the ROTC
coordinator at Balboa High School in San Francisco. During his 20 years as an educator, he was
an ROTC coordinator, vice principal, and principal at several northern California schools. His
hard work and dedication has impacted the lives of thousands of students.
Jimmy Sr. is survived by his beloved bride of 59 years, Johanna, and their two children Bonnie
(Randy) and Jimmy Jr. (Michelle). He was also blessed with 8 grandchildren (Tyler, Katherine,
Jessica, Jacob, Jennifer, Jonathan, and Jason) as well as 4 great-grandchildren (Odin, Paizlee,
Kaiser and Sydney). While he had a great impact on everyone he met, it was on his family that
he made the strongest impression. To his family, he was known as “Opa”. Opa was full of life;
kind, generous, and always willing to help. He led by example, and through his actions taught
his family members how to be the best versions of themselves. He loved his family dearly, and
he will be missed greatly by all. A deeply religious man, it is a comfort to know that he is in
heaven with his parents, siblings, and his grandson Jimmy Eugene the 3rd.
We love you Opa, now and always.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you kindly donate to the Wounded Warrior Project in