John B. Griffin Jr., M.D., was born on Sept. 24, 1931, and died on Aug. 6, 2011, surrounded by his loving family, at the age of 79. He is preceded in death by his parents, John Bunyan Griffin Sr. and Ella Mae Griffin. A native of Mt. Airy, he grew up in Atlanta, and was valedictorian of his graduating class at Boys High School, which became Grady High School in his senior year. He spent his undergraduate years at Emory University, completing his degree in only three years, after which he went on to earn his medical degree at Emory University School of Medicine in 1956. He served his internship at Grady Hospital. He continued his training in pediatrics at St. Christopher's Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa., where he studied under the father of American Pediatrics, Dr. Waldo Nelson. Dr. Griffin served his country as a captain in the Air Force for two years at Connally Air Force Base in Waco, Texas. He opened a private pediatric practice in Avondale Estates, where he served his patients and their families for three years. Dr. Griffin became fascinated not only with his patients' physical ailments but also their psychological pain and became one of the most respected physicians in his field.
He pursued specialties in both adult and child psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine. He established a private psychiatric practice at Emory Healthcare. He was very involved in the Emory School of Medicine's Child Psychiatry Fellowship program. He became Acting Director of the Emory School of Medicine Child Psychiatry Section. He was a distinguished professor and professor emeritus at the Emory University of Medicine and served on the Admissions Committee for well over 20 years. He served as the Medical Director of the Emory Autism Center. He started child psychiatry services in the Covington and Gainesville Community Mental Health Centers. He achieved Board Certifications in Pediatrics, Adult Psychiatry, Child Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He became a pioneer in the field of Cognitive Behavioral in his Emory practice. His work in Addictionology included decades of service in developing the exam for the National Board of Medical Examiners for the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Griffin retired at the age of 75 in 2006, after 40 years of practice at Emory. He taught Sunday School at Avondale Estates First Baptist Church where he joined in 1960 and attended until his death. He was deacon of his beloved church for more than 40 years. His love of God and Christ were evident in everything he did.
He is survived by his devoted wife Lavinia Griffin, who married him 50 years and 11 months ago; sons John B. Griffin III, and Richard S. Griffin and their wives Laura and Beth; grandchildren Victoria, Nicole, Kaitlin and Makenzie; sisters Gloria Alice Griffin Walker and Rebecca Ann Ramsey and their husbands Ken Walker and Sam Ramsey; sister-in-law Frances and her husband Dick Geiter; brother-in-law Reed and his wife Evelyn Jones; brother-in-law Charles and his wife Betty Jones; brother-in-law Stephen and his wife Cecilia Jones; aunt Hazel Howard; cousins Ron and Cheryl Atteberry, Tommy and Teri Loudermilk, and Carlotta Perrot; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He is also survived by many patients whose lives have been blessed by his care, knowledge, and attention. His sense of humor, love of the banjo and clown collection will always be fondly remembered by his friends and family.
The service celebrating the life of Dr. Griffin will be held at 11 a.m. today, Aug. 10, at Avondale Estates First Baptist Church with the Rev. Clay B. Bowden officiating. Flowers accepted, but those desiring may make donations to Avondale Estates First Baptist Church, 47 Covington Road, Avondale Estates, Ga. 30002, in memory of Dr. John B. Griffin Jr. Condolences may be sent or viewed at www.wagesfuneralhome.com.