History & Staff
Personalized service options allow you to honor your loved ones in a way that is both meaningful and healing. We hope to provide support and caring while delivering memorial services that celebrate life and help families find the peace they deserve.
If you’re seeking an honorable celebration of life, we invite you to learn more about where we came from, our vision, and the dedicated people behind our work.
A History of Caring
In 1938, Jesse M. Griffith and C. R. Cline purchased the Wakeman Funeral Home on Manatee Avenue in Bradenton, Florida. They changed the name of the firm to Griffith-Cline Funeral Home and began serving the residents of Manatee and Sarasota counties with care, compassion, and dignified service. In 1945, the funeral home suffered a devastating fire, which began in an automotive section of the facility. Thankfully no one was injured, although the funeral home suffered extensive damage. The funeral home was rebuilt and business continued to grow. Shortly thereafter, it was evident that a much larger and more modern facility was needed in order to serve client families with the attention to detail and service that remain a hallmark of Griffith-Cline to this day. The partners purchased property adjacent to their business and began construction of a purpose-built, state-of-the-art funeral home.
Upon his discharge from the U. S. Navy following service in World War II, Jesse Griffith’s son, O. M. "Buster" Griffith joined the firm. He attended Eccles Mortuary School in Philadelphia, PA and became a licensed embalmer/funeral director. When Mr. Cline became seriously ill, Buster purchased his interests in the firm and became business partner with his father. The partnership flourished with Buster assuming the day to day running of the firm when his father developed brain cancer in the early 1950s. Full ownership of the business passed to Buster when his father died in the late 1950s.
In the meantime, the firm rapidly outgrew the newly-built facility. The original Wakeman building was moved and became a private residence. Thus began a series of renovations and expansion of the funeral home, culminating in its latest renovation in 2004.
In 1960, Griffith-Cline was the first funeral firm in Manatee county to install its own crematory. We continue to operate our own on-site crematory to this day.
Jesse Griffith once remarked that the core of his firm’s business philosophy was service. That remains our philosophy to this day. We thank all those families who over the years have placed their trust in Griffith-Cline Funeral and Cremation Services and pledge ourselves to upholding the values first established by Jesse Griffith and C. R. Cline in 1938.
Our Staff’s Dedication to Respectful Care
A funeral, or memorial service, should provide family members and loved ones with the chance to reflect, remember, and celebrate a life well-lived. Our goal is to create exceptional services and experiences that fulfill the wishes of your loved one. Our experienced Funeral Directors provide guidance on the crucial first steps toward healing.
Ken, the grandson of founder Jesse Griffith, joined the firm in 1967. He is a 1969 graduate of Manatee High School and possesses both a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University.
In their free time, he and his wife Catherine (originally from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada) enjoy the peace and serenity of the Everglades, where they own a camp in the Big Cypress National Preserve. Ken is the proud father of two children: Carolyn and Robert.
Dillon is the managing director at Jennings Funeral Home & Crematory and Griffith-Cline Funeral and Cremation Services. He is a native Floridian and fourth generation funeral director. Dillon, after graduating from Dunnellon High School, went on to attend the College of Central Florida and Lynn University, where he earned his degree in Mortuary Science in 1993. Dillon performed his internship here in Sarasota, but after graduation, he returned to the family funeral home in Ocala, FL. In 2008, Dillon began working at Jennings Funeral Home & Crematory and Griffith-Cline Funeral and Cremation Services in 2023 and has since become an integral member of the team, as he has brought his lifetime of funeral industry experience, his impeccable work ethic, professionalism, and vast amounts of compassion to each family he serves. Dillon is married to his beautiful wife, Holly, and in his spare time, he enjoys fishing, hunting, golf and running.
Funeral Director Intern
Administrative Assistant/Funeral Associate
*Unlicensed and not qualified to embalm, make funeral arrangements, or conduct funerals.
O.M. ''Buster'' Griffith
1923 - 2022
Oscar Marvin “Buster” Griffith died on Sunday, January 16, 2022, in Bradenton, Florida at the age of 98. His wife Eileen, the love of his life, was at his side in the home where they had lived for almost 60 years.
Buster was born on March 17, 1923, in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, the son of Jesse Marvin
Griffith and Ruth Metzker Griffith.
Buster was raised in Florida, the family moving from Pennsylvania to Hollywood in 1926, then to Lake Wales in 1928. Jesse Griffith and family came to Bradenton in 1938, when he and his partner Conklin Cline established Griffith-Cline Funeral Home. Buster assumed management of the funeral home from his father in 1952 and was president of the company until his death. He was a frequent presence at Griffith-Cline well into his 90s, offering his expertise to clients and colleagues and his comfort to those mourning the loss of loved ones. He had a gentle touch and always had exactly the right words for grieving families.
Buster graduated from Bradenton High School (now Manatee High) in 1942, serving as senior class president. This from his high school senior yearbook photo caption, comments from classmates: “A gridiron star, hailed by all football fans; a friend, tried and true; a man for the ages.” His classmates clearly knew him well. He was a talented athlete, lettering in football and track. He was named captain of the Bradenton High football team and earned a football scholarship to the University of Georgia, which he attended for a year before joining the U.S. Navy. He served his country during World War II from 1943–1946. After his honorable discharge from the Navy, he completed his education at Rollins College and the Eckels College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia.
Buster married Dorothy Eileen Watts of Columbus, Ohio on March 26, 1949. Theirs was a
storybook marriage, lasting just short of 73 years.
During his long life, Buster became well-known and highly respected throughout Bradenton and Manatee County. He was a hard-working, principled, dedicated businessman, generous with his time and financial resources above and beyond his work with Griffith-Cline. He served in many charitable organizations and was a leader in numerous local civic endeavors, including the Chamber of Commerce, Civic Center Authority, American Red Cross, YMCA, United Way, Manatee County Shrine Club for Crippled and Burned Children, and Goodwill Industries. Never expecting recognition or compensation, he devoted countless hours to making Bradenton and Manatee County a better place to live and work.
He was a Lions Club member, serving as treasurer and president. He was a Master of the
Braidentown Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. He was a Vice Commander of the American Legion Kirby Stewart Post #24.
He served on the Bradenton Country Club Board of Directors and on the boards of several local banks.
He loved his church, Christ Episcopal, for which he served on the Vestry and as both Junior and Senior Warden. He gave freely and faithfully of his time and was a fiscal pillar of the church. He was a proud founder and board member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. It is fitting that he died at dawn on the Lord’s Day—the time he would customarily arise to prepare for the early church service.
He was the 2008 Manatee County Distinguished Citizen, awarded by the Manatee River Fair
He was the 2015 Outstanding Alumnus of the Manatee High School Alumni Association.
Buster, his life filled with honors and accomplishments, was most proud of his family. He loved his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren with all his heart. And they all loved their Granddaddy.
Buster will be dearly missed every day by his family and his multitude of friends, but so will
they remember his warmth, vitality, loving spirit, generosity, love for life—and perhaps most of all—his hearty, deep baritone laugh.
He has been preceded in death by his parents Jesse and Ruth Griffith; by his sister Helen Griffith Jordan; and by his brother, Donald Fred Griffith.
He is survived by his beloved wife Eileen Watts Griffith; by sons Kenneth Richard (Catherine) Griffith, of Bradenton, and James Marvin (Kimberly Ann Whitney) Griffith, of San Francisco, California; by daughter Jan Griffith (John) Remington, of Wilmington, North Carolina; by grandchildren Emily Watts Remington (Kristoffer) Murray, of New Orleans, Louisiana; Andrew Lauren (Sandra) Remington, of Birmingham, Alabama; Carolyn Virginia Griffith (Hale) Snyder, of San Antonio, Texas; Robert Hightower (Miranda) Griffith, of Houston, Texas; and Kathleen Whitney Griffith, of Orlando, Florida; and by great-grandchildren Norah Abernethy Murray, Allen Griffith Remington, Barron Hightower Griffith, William Hutchinson Murray, and John Rhys Remington.