Jerry Griffin: A life devoted to conservation and community, leaves enduring legacy

Published 11:49 pm Saturday, December 2, 2023

Jerry Ward Griffin, 72, of Starkville, passed away Nov. 30, 2023, at Oktibbeha County Hospital.

Born July 31, 1951, to the late Jack and Nina Griffin, Jerry graduated from Starkville High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University (MSU). In 1980, he married Darla, the love of his life, at the Chapel of Memories on the MSU campus.

Jerry’s career spanned decades with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, serving as a supervising conservationist in Yalobusha and Lafayette Counties. He was also an accomplished tree farmer and Oktibbeha County Forest Farmers Association board member.

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Beyond his professional life, he faithfully served his local community. He coached youth softball and baseball in Columbus and Oxford; served with the Southern Baptist Convention’s disaster relief team; and volunteered with Casserole Kitchen, a Starkville ministry that provides free meals to the needy. He was an active member of First Baptist Church of Starkville, where he served as an usher and Sunday School leader. Jerry was also a fervent Mississippi State Bulldogs fan. And he was a loving and devoted father and “Papa G” to his children and grandchildren.

Jerry is survived by his wife of 43 years, Darla Griffin; his sister, Nancy Undieme of Nashville, Tenn.; his children, Steven Griffin (Nashville, Tenn.), Jamie (Johnathan) Hall (Raleigh, N.C.), and Whitney (Ryan) Henderson (Memphis, Tenn.); and his cherished grandchildren, Kaycee, Kyler, and Josh Hall (Raleigh, N.C.), and Natalie Henderson (Memphis, Tenn.). His sister, Jane Griffin Dacey, preceded him in death.

Visitation is scheduled for Dec. 4, 2023, at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Starkville, followed by the funeral at 2:30 p.m. Rev. Clifton Curtis and Dr. Andy Brown will officiate, with Dr. Tom Jenkins providing music. Burial will follow at Memorial Garden Park Cemetery, with church members serving as pallbearers.

Memorials can be made to the First Baptist Church of Starkville’s Children Building Fund, 106 E. Lampkin Street, Starkville, MS 39759, or the American Heart Association at