George Goodall Griffith was born on September 1, 1925, at the Griffith home in Ione, Oregon, and died at age 93 on October 6, 2018, at Regency Care Center in Hermiston, Oregon. Services will be held Friday, October 12 at 2 p.m. at Ione Community Church, 395 E. Main St., Ione, Oregon. Internment by Sweeney Mortuary will be at Morgan Cemetery with military honors, following the service and dinner.
George was born in Ione, Oregon, at the Griffith family home, the only son of Elmer and Frances Ann (Goodall) Griffith. He had two older sisters, Virginia and Katherine, and one younger sister, June. George attended grade school at the one-room schoolhouse in Morgan. He attended high school in Ione where he played football and basketball and graduated in 1943.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 1944, received basic training in San Diego and Camp Pendleton and became a member of the Fifth Marine Division. In August 1944, they were stationed at Camp Tarawa near Kamuela, Hawaii, which was on the famous Parker Ranch. On January 4, 1945, the Fifth Division left Camp Tarawa and sailed to combat at Iwo Jima. They landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. For 36 days, they fought one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. He witnessed the historic raising of the flag on Iwo Jima, which has become an iconic memorial and symbol of the United States fighting men. They returned to Hawaii for furlough and were sent to Japan where they landed at Sasebo on September 22, 1945, after the Japanese surrender.
George married Lorene Adele Mitchell of Heppner, Ore., on May 19, 1951, and they had four children, Charlotte Rose born June 24, 1952, Glen George Aug. 9, 1957, and Elmer Dee and Grant Lee March 30, 1965. George and Lorene loved square dancing, hosted the 2000 Summer Festival in Pendleton, and in 2009 won the Randall award.
George is preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Fannie; his three sisters, Virginia Burns, Katherine Lindstrom and June Haugen; his daughter Charlotte; his twin sons, who died at birth; and his wife of 66 years, Lorene.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Glen and Kelly Griffith; his granddaughters Tracy Griffith (Mund) and husband Justin, and Jenny Griffith (Turner) and husband Ricky; and two great-grandsons, Tate Turner and Talen Turner.