Obituary of Buster Griffith
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
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
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
Funeral service is at eleven o’clock in the morning on Thursday, January 20, at Christ Episcopal
Church, 4030 Manatee Avenue West.
The family requests in lieu of flowers that memorials be directed to:
Manatee High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, www.manateehighalumni.com, PO Box 15103, Bradenton, FL. 34280
Folds of Honor
(https://foldsofhonor.org), an organization dedicated to providing educational scholarships to
spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled military service members.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Buster Griffith, please visit Tribute Store