Claremore Daily Progress


July 28, 2013

Shelby Arlen Griffin

CLAREMORE — Services for Shelby Arlen Griffin will be 10 a.m., Monday, July 29, 2013 at Rehoboth Baptist Church, Claremore; private burial will follow, under the direction of Rice Funeral Service. Shelby passed away on Monday, July 22, 2013. He was 85.

Born Oct. 21, 1927 in Siloam Springs, Ark., to Thomas P. and Mary Lou (Roberts) Griffin, Shelby was raised and educated in his birth community. He worked on his family’s dairy farm, milking cows from the time he was 5 years old. By the time he was 7 years old, he was milking cows on farm every day.  The discipline, work ethic and responsibility he learned from working on the farm served him well throughout his life.

At age 16 Shelby left life on the family farm to join his older brother, Archie and worked in Tulsa. He did odd jobs for about a year before marrying his sweetheart from Arkansas. Shelby and Doris Willis were married on March 8, 1945 and made Catoosa their home for 32 years before they moved into a new home they built in Verdigris in 2002. Their union was blessed with two children.

In December of 1945 Shelby joined the Air Force and thus began his affinity for aircraft. He never really wanted to fly but was more interested in how the machines worked. In 1952, after his service in the military, Shelby began working at McDonnell Douglass when the plant reopened in Tulsa. He loved designing tools and doing something different every day.

Trained in tool design at a time when the aircraft industry was gearing up in Tulsa, Shelby helped produce everything from pleasure boats and jet engine components to the Saturn rocket that sent man to the moon. Shelby began working for NORDAM in 1969 when the company was in its infancy. His amazing skills and ingenuity helped rocket NORDAM toward legendary success.

After 23 years of service, Shelby retired from NORDAM in 1992 as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Manufacturing Division. A NORDAM chairman said of Shelby, “It would be difficult for me to identify anyone who was more instrumental in developing this company in its early years than Shelby Griffin.”

They were members of the Tulsa Baptist Church where Shelby was a deacon and at one time Chairman of all Committee. He loved his church and church family and supported its many missionaries across the world. Later Rehoboth Baptist Church became their home church and the congregation became very special to them.

In their spare time Shelby and Doris loved to “follow the sun” and tour the countryside in their motor home. Shelby also enjoyed spending time riding his bulldozer among the hills behind his Verdigris home.

This loving father, grandfather and great grandfather will be missed by all who knew him. Shelby was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Doris; his children Joyce Anne Johnson and husband Rollin of Verdigris, Shelby Eugene Griffin and wife Rebecca  of Phoenix, Ariz.; grandchildren Elizabeth Lechlider and husband Michael of Verdigris, Erin Wolf and husband Brian of Norman, Christina Maass and husband Aaron of Verdigris, and Tiffany Griffin of Owasso; three great grandchildren; sister Louanna Pieratt of Kellyville, Okla. Shelby was preceded by his wife Doris, his parents and three brothers.

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