Floral 11

William Griffin

August 3, 1925 ~ July 1, 2023 (age 97) 97 Years Old


Funeral Service Live Stream Link



Bill was born on August 3, 1925, on Springwood Avenue in Asbury Park, New Jersey to the late William and Naomi Griffin. He attended and graduated from the Asbury Park public school system. He was a World War II veteran. His church home was conveniently located right across the street at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Temple, where he and his seven siblings attended regularly; I am sure front & center.

In keeping with the type of guy Bill was, we are respecting his wishes by having a slightly different type of Memorial Service. His final services and burial will be held in Alaska.

As most of you all know, Bill was a very private and reserved type of person and not one to do a lot of socializing or talking. He was a very giving person and was always trying to make a positive difference in his community. He was known for giving dollars to those children who showed him their report cards with A’s and B’s.

Bill operated and owned the first coin operated laundry and rental properties on the west side of Asbury Park until the ripe old age of 93. My husband believed in taking charge and doing things his way, which is a Griffin trait. I can honestly say this as I carry out his last and final wishes because this was the way he wanted it.

It is said that no one could press a pair of jeans or shirt like him. People came from near and far to have their jeans and shirts done. In addition to owning two-coin operated laundries and real estate properties, he owned the first black doughnut shop, Waverly Hotel, and the Red Rooster Restaurant. He continued to rent to families on the west side for many decades. Last but not least, “My Bill” took pride in being his own boss. He never worked for anyone but his father (William Griffin Sr.) who instilled in him, all his work ethics and the importance of saving money and being a good businessman.

On the traditional side, Bill loved his sisters and brothers because his father Daddy Bill, as we affectionately called him, raised his children to watch out and take care of one another. As I mentioned before, Bill was a very private and reserved type of person, but if he had something to say to you, you best believe he was going to tell you. One of the things he loved to say… “I am seldom wrong about anything I say.”

He said this to me, family members, friends, or anyone who would listen, no exceptions. If you thought he was wrong, you were in for a very long discussion on how he knew he was right, and you were wrong. You just ended up by saying, “Ok Bill, you are right.” Although he may have been actually wrong, he would tell you with a smile and twinkle in his eyes, “Even if I’m wrong, then that’s right.” His strong will and determination were one of the things which allowed him to become one of the first black business owners on the Westside, and had he lived until August 3rd of this year, he would have been 98 years old.

I can truly say that Bill enjoyed all the years he spent as a Black businessman on Springwood Avenue, and he was one of the first and longest staying Black businesses. After the riots in 1969, many of the businesses never re-opened or returned, but Griffin’s business continued to operate.

Bill loved his family and his New York Giants. He was inducted into the Giants Hall of Fame as one of their oldest and longest staying “Season Ticket Holders” and he attended several Giant Super Bowls. In addition to being a long time Giant fan, other activities included driving cross country, taking military hops, Million Man March, traveling to all seven continents, bus rides to Atlantic City, listening to jazz and attending Jazz Festivals in New Orleans, are just a few of the things he enjoyed.

Bill felt that the younger generation has always had somewhere to go or something to do, but as retired seniors, we don’t always have those options. Therefore, Bill came up with places and things to do that would require him to get up and go out. Mind you now, Bill had stopped driving and I had become his personal Uber driver.

Mornings, started out at McDonald’s or some other local eatery for breakfast. Getting up and going for breakfast was one of his daily rituals. After breakfast, we would go to his office (my car) where we sat and people watched on “The Avenue”, sometimes until lunch time and then he had a choice of going to Burger King, White Castle, Costco, or Shoprite for lunch. We would visit different places for lunch that he hadn’t been to in a while. He took his daily 60-minute walk after lunch at Monmouth Mall or Freehold Raceway Mall. He told me each and every day that Monmouth and Freehold Raceway Mall were declining; because as he walked through the mall, there were hardly any stores or people there anymore. Turns out, he was right. Monmouth Mall was slated to get a complete overhaul by the new owners, which never quite materialized.

Bill also remained active by going to Atlantic City with the Midtown Seniors, Belmar Seniors, Golden Girls, and Meridian Hospital Group. He would also take bus trips sponsored by Josephine Hammary and Wesley White. He always sat on the front seat in the bus. Everyone knew he loved the front seat, and either out of love or respect (and perhaps to humor him), someone always held that seat for him. Everyone felt he was an extraordinarily nice guy. He did not gamble but enjoyed riding the bus to AC and walking. Once we got to Atlantic City, Janice Moon, Bill, and I would walk all the way over to Harrah’s Marina. This was because it was something he enjoyed tremendously. I will be forever grateful, and I would like to say “Thank you” to the many individuals for helping my Bill enjoy his life.

One business owner also on The Avenue, Valerie Roberts (owner of Eddie’s Barbershop), remarked that she never needed to look at her watch for the time, because back in the day when Bill was still working, she knew his schedule. For example, Valerie would not hesitate to call me if she did not see him arrive at the shop around his usual time. Upon arrival he would sweep and clean up the sidewalk and street in front of all his properties on “The Ave” as he called it.

I can also think of other things that gave Bill much joy and pleasure and one of them was giving yours truly the most spectacular and out-of-sight poolside wedding which appeared on the front page of the Asbury Park Press on July 21, 1973. People still talk about that wedding, which happened almost 50 years ago. We would have celebrated 50 years of marriage on July 21, 2023, with having traveled in the past to the end of the world (Antarctica) as part of our marital journey.

Bill loved to travel, and he shared with friends and family how he truly enjoyed driving across the country and driving on the Alaskan Highway. In the year 2018, he was extremely excited and proud when he could finally add Antarctica to his list of worldwide travels and say he had been to all seven continents.

My husband was a very giving person, for many years he would decorate for holidays the entire school building where I taught. He was a member of S.T.A.R.S., a redevelopment group, which was formed to redevelop and improve the west side of town and he was also a member of the Monmouth Housing Alliance.

Bill was born on Springwood Avenue and was very proud of how the Westside once flourished. He never gave up hope and he continued to stay on “The Avenue” until encouragement from family members and “Yours Truly” suggested “that he should retire and enjoy his life, after all he was 93 years old. He said he was enjoying his life by being on the Avenue spending time with special friends, Mike Todd, Eddie Jones, Ernie Taylor (deceased). However, he did live to see the revitalization and redevelopment on the Westside. I am very grateful to the Kula Cafe for naming a burger on their menu after him, as they also named other specialty items on their menu after other businessmen and businesses.

Bill, at his ripe young old age of 95, continued to walk every day, and going to McDonald’s every day afterwards for his Chicken McNuggets, small fries and hot chocolate, throughout the winter and summer months until his health failed.

He is predeceased by 1 brother, Alford Griffin, 5 sisters, Twyler G. Daniels, Quinetta Griffin, Rosenell G. Wooldridge, Zenobia G. Dickerson, and Willi G. Williamson.

He leaves to mourn his loving wife, Marilyn, of 49 years; he tried in his Griffin fashion to hold out for the 50th which would have been July 21st. He also leaves to mourn their four-legged daughter, Tre’, brother, Frank Griffin (California,) sister-in-law, Janet Griffin, and a host of cousins, nieces, and nephews.

On behalf of myself and all our family members, we thank you so very much for your calls, visits, and encouraging words of love. I leave you with these words: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu


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Memorial Service
July 15, 2023

11:00 AM
Second Baptist Church - Asbury Park
124 Atkins Ave
Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Interment Private


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