In his 45 years in the fire service, from his start as a firefighter up to his final months as fire marshal and code enforcement officer for Ridley Township, Bob Griffith wanted to help people.
“It was just his willingness to help everybody,” said his daughter Courtney. “A week after he passed, his boss was going through his emails and said, ‘I didn’t realize how much he actually did. He went above and beyond.’
“Say he was inspecting a building with an elderly person in it, and that person was in a bad situation. He would get them the help that they needed. He didn’t have to do that. That’s not part of his job description. But he went out of his way to help others.”
Mr. Griffith, a Phillies and Flyers fan who enjoyed listening to Celtic music and attending Irish festivals, died Monday, May 18, eight days before his 62nd birthday, at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park from complications resulting from the coronavirus.
A former chief with the Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association and a long-time member of the Holmes Fire Company, Mr. Griffith preferred to go about his work quietly and deflected any attention directed toward him.
“Honestly, he didn’t like the credit,” his daughter said. “He didn’t want the attention. He felt that that was just his duty, to do what he had to do. He never wanted any kind of praise for it.”
In his spare time, Mr. Griffith spent his Friday nights at the former Campbell’s Boathouse in Media with his wife, Joan, and friends listening to live music. He also attended Irish festivals with his family in King of Prussia and Bethlehem, Pa.
“It was just a way for him to relax,” his daughter said. “We started going to Irish festivals at a very young age, and we were brought up around that atmosphere. We learned a lot about our history that way. He loved Celtic music and Irish dancing.”
Another favorite activity was attending games of the Phillies and Flyers and watching the teams on TV when he couldn’t make it to South Philadelphia. His daughter said he shared a love of photography with her, and he also enjoyed tinkering and taking care of the family’s two Dalmatians.
In addition to his wife of 39 years and daughter, Mr. Griffith is survived by daughter Megan.