Martha Idella Gurganus Griffin

April 20, 1920 - July 10, 2008

04/20/1920 - 07/10/2008

Past Services

Saturday July 12, 2008
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Altmeyer Funeral Home ï¿_ Riverside Chapel
7415 River Rd
Newport News, VA 23607
757-245-1525 | Directions
Sunday July 13, 2008
10:00 am
Newport News Primitive Baptist Church
1236 Gatewood Road
Newport News, VA 23606
Tuesday July 15, 2008
5:00 pm
Ten Mile Swamp Plantation
860 Gurganus Road
Richlands, NC

NEWPORT NEWS – Martha Idella Gurganus Griffin, 88, a beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend, passed peacefully from this world on July 10, 2008. Her son, Rickie, was by her side when she passed.
Mrs. Griffin is survived by her sons, Ret. Master Gunnery Sergeant Ronnie Jerome Griffin and wife, Linda Jennette Ivey, and Rickie Dean Griffin; three grandchildren, Lauri Ann Griffin Finn and husband, Mark, Rhonda Lynn Griffin Pearce Goins and husband, Edward, Ronnie Jerome Griffin Jr. and wife, Shannon Shore; four great-grandchildren and five step-grandchildren; her sisters, Dona Kathern Southern, Ester Lois Johnson, all from North Carolina; and brother-in-law, Marvin Ray Griffin of Gordon, Texas.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 38 years, John Jerome Griffin Jr.; parents, Lewis Thomas Gurganus and Elda Liza Pearce; her sisters, Emma and husband, Leslie Thomas Swinson, Elma and husband, Andrew Jackson Wilson, Lura May and husbands, Walter Harris and George Andrews, Elda Viola and husband, William Thomas McPhail; brothers-in-law, Auther Lee Southerland and Edward E. Johnson; in-laws, John Jerome Griffin Sr. and Lucille Jones; brothers-in-law, Julius Carol, Raymond Earl and Leroy Griffin.
Born April 4, 1920, Idella was the seventh of 11 children born at the ancestral home Ten Mile Swamp Plantation, at Bay Bottom, Onslow County, N.C., by the midwife Polly More, who delivered all the Gurganus children. She was educated there at the Gurganus School and Jacksonville High School.
During WWII, she was smitten by the redheaded ‘Johnnie’ Griffin, and married in 1944. They met at the Roanoke Rapids Armory Dance and danced to ‘The Tennessee Waltz.’
She was part of what is now called ‘The Greatest Generation,” answered the call to war, and joined the ranks of thousands of woman, the ‘Rosie the Riveters’ working at Patterson Mills in Roanoke Rapids, making silk for parachutes.
After the war, she devoted her life to beloved husband and two redheaded sons. She was an avid gardener, and was from a long family of planters and a fabulous southern cook, who honed her skills at the Ten Mile. She was a philanthropist and contributed to many charities and societies, and was a member of the American Daffodil Society.
Martha Idella Gurganus Griffin was a direct descendent of Edward Gurgany, a gentleman, and his wife, Ann, who in 1608 arrived on the first supply ship, The Phoenix, to Jamestown, Va. The family’s first settlement was Argill’s Gift Plantation, one mile from Jamestown. In 1737, a land grant, now known as ‘The Ten Mile’ in Onslow County, N.C., was awarded by King George II to the family. To this day, most of the land still belongs to the descendants.
The family wishes to thank all who helped Mrs. Griffin pass with peace and dignity, Dr. Phillip Hoyt, and all from the Family Clinic, all her aides and Sara Price.
A viewing will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 12, at Riverside – Altmeyer Funeral Home, 7415 River Road, Newport News. The funeral will take place at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 13, at Newport News Primitive Baptist Church, 1236 Gatewood Road, Newport News, presided over by Elder Barnabas Brammer. Interment will take place at Ten Mile Swamp Plantation.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the Newport News Primitive Church Restoration Fund.

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