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Bellville Times

Bobby Juel Griffin passed away Thursday, April 26, 2012, in Bellville at age 83. He was born May 27, 1928 in Hadley, Cass County, TX to S.J. and Era May Liles Griffin.

Bobby’s younger years were spent in Trinidad, TX, then Tennessee, where his father worked for TVA. After the family moved to Houston, he attended Milby High School where he was an all-city football star, earning the attention of many college recruiters.

He chose Baylor University and helped lead his team to several bowl games. After graduation, he play pro-football for the New York Yanks in Yankee Stadium from 1950-51.

In 1950 Bobby married Georgene Brockles, and they had four children. He worked a stint in his father-in-law’s famed Brockles Steakhouse in Fort Worth, then in a cotton-picking machine operation across the U.S. Southwest. After joining Dresser Magcobar, he worked his way up from petroleum mud engineer in South Texas to international sales manager based in New York City. Eventually he left to help found Atwood Oceanics, Inc. and marketed the firm’s offshore drilling rigs worldwide. Later he worked for Griffin-Alexander Drilling and Triton Engineering and was a Director of the oilmen’s charity Spindletop International.

In 1985, after Georgene’s death, Bobby married Linda Riedel Gillan Griffin, now former Houston Chronicle oil editor, fashion editor and columnist, and he became stepfather to her three sons.

Bobby began retiring in 1986, the day after buying a small Cat Spring farm from the Andreas family. As his children say, “One day Bobby went to the farm and didn’t come back.” 

Perhaps a happier man never walked Earth. Even as a child, Bobby was famous for his jokes, pranks and dry humor. In the Baylor athletic dormitory and on the football playing fields, where he earned the nickname “Spider,” he was legend. A near-scratch golfer, he was much sought after as a partner at Lakeside Country Club. Near his death, he even rallied in the hospital to tease the nurses and therapists. Asked recently in a Chinese restaurant if his fortune was a good one, he replied, “Yes, delicious.” He had eaten the cookie, fortune and all.

Beyond the joy he brought to people’s lives, Bobby also taught the value of hard work, coming as he had from a small-town home without indoor plumbing to international executive. Bobby was known for telling his children, stepchildren and anyone else who needed to hear it, “You gotta be a little tougher.”

Bobby was preceded in death by his parents, all his six siblings, his first wife Georgene and one son, Ben Alan Griffin. Survivors include his wife Linda; daughter Billie Diann and husband Gary Warren and their daughter Kelley; son Bobby Juel Griffin Jr., Paula Parish and daughter Amanda; son Mark Liles Griffin and daughters Victoria, Zoe and Macayla; stepson Thomas Gregory Gillan, wife Elizabeth and sons Emerson, Miles and Zane; stepson Christopher Carpenter Gillan, wife Karla and son Charlie; and stepson Stuart Gillan and sons Jacob and Seth; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to thank Dr.Welton Hill and his staff, as well as the nurses and staff of Bellville General Hospital and Colonial Belle Nursing Home, for their kind and loving care in Bobby’s last days. A small family celebration of Bobby’s life is planned at a later date when his ashes will come to rest on his beloved Cat Spring farm.

Posted by Joy Neely



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