Asheville – William J. “Bill” Griffin, 90, of Asheville, died Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at the Charles George VA Medical Center.
A native of Bostwick, he was a son of the late Henry and Era Williams Griffin. He was also preceded in death by an infant son, James Griffin.
While growing up on the family farm in Georgia, he showed a strong aptitude towards anything mechanical. In addition to helping work the farm and selling produce, he had his own bicycle shop and repaired watches and cars as a teenager. Bill served in the US Army Air Corps during World War II. While receiving healthcare at Oteen Veterans Administration Hospital, he decided to make Asheville his home after being released from the hospital and got the idea of again working on watches and learned to be a watchmaker.
In 1949, Bill attended classes at Cecil’s Business College and eventually bought a house in the Kenilworth community. He took a job with Carolina Jewelers of Asheville as an apprentice watchmaker. After a few years, he and Harriette opened a branch store, Carolina Jewelers of Black Mountain, which they owned and operated until 1987. Their sons, Joe and Tony grew up working summers, weekends and holidays in the store, helping customers and learning about watch repair.
Bill is survived by his wife of 62 years, Harriette Griffin; two sons, Joe Griffin and his wife, Mary, of Roswell and Tony Griffin and his wife, Melissa, of Apex, NC; one niece, Susan Morgan and her husband, Ray, of Atlanta, GA; one nephew, Gordon T. Lill and his wife, Linda, of Huntsville, AL; two grand-nieces, Teresa Simmons, of Huntsville, AL and Katie Morgan, of Atlanta, GA; one great-grand niece, Katie Simmons as well as one cousin, John Lill and his wife, Mary, of Buckhead.
A funeral service was held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, August 5, in the chapel of Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian with Rev. Sam McLamb and Rev. Stephen D. Haines officiating. Interment, including military rites, followed at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery. The family received friends from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, August 4 at the funeral home.
The family graciously asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made in Bill’s memory to ones local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans.
A memorial register is available at grocefuneralhome.com.