Obituary of Mary K. Griffith
Mary K. Griffith
Mary K. Griffith, 97, of Rome, N.Y., passed away peacefully at home with her family near on December 15, 2023. She was born on March 22, 1926, in Gadsden, Alabama, daughter of Lewis Kilpatrick and Willie Reid Kilpatrick, the middle child of five. Following high school, she continued her education at Huntingdon College in Alabama where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Romance languages. Soon thereafter, she met Major Emlyn Griffith, United States Army Air Corp. They married in 1946 and settled in Rome after brief residences in Ithaca and Lockport, New York. They shared two sons, a grandson, and nine accomplished nieces and nephews.
Mary was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Rome. She was twice elected to the Rome City School Board of Education and served in volunteer leadership positions in many organizations. They included the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Cazenovia College Board of Trustees, the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Evergreen Twig and Wednesday Morning Club of Rome, among others. In those and elsewhere, she was highly regarded for her friendliness and diplomatic problem solving. During this time, Mary worked alongside her son William in The Bookstore in Rome, which he owned and operated. For four decades she also hosted an annual Freshman Sendoff party for incoming Colgate University students from Central New York, impressing several generations of young people who would later comment on her intelligence and welcome ability to put nervous guests at ease.
Mary was a wonderful storyteller who took pleasure in recounting the many colorful adventures and foibles of her southern ancestors, dating all the way back to Andrew Kilpatrick of Donegal County, Ireland. She was a loving, compassionate and supportive wife, mother, aunt and grandmother who worked without complaint and when at rest invariably had a book at hand. She was devoted to her many friends, who returned her affection.
“She was beautiful for the way she thought. She was beautiful for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. …No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down in her soul”
Mary is survived by her sons, William L. Griffith and James R. (Dianne) Griffith, and a grandson, Evan J. Griffith. She was predeceased by her brothers and sisters and by her husband, Emlyn I. Griffith.
Calling hours will be held on Saturday, December 23, 2023, from 1 to 4 P.M. at Strong-Burns & Sprock Funeral Home 7751 Merrick Road, Rome. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, January 4, 2024, at 11 A.M. at the First Presbyterian Church of Rome. Interment will take place in the spring in Westernville Cemetery.