Karl John Griffin
July 28, 2010
Karl Griffin died June 19, 2010 in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, from natural causes at the age of 64.Born in Highland Park, Calif., to Lindy Griffin, Karl moved to Snowmass Village in 1969 and lived on the Faraway Ranch. He is remembered by some as the “guy with the pet pig.” Karl and “Piggy” would be seen driving around Snowmass together in his brown VW bug. In 1974, he opened Sunset Ski Repair in Snowmass Village and operated it until he sold the business in 1992.Karl was a tremendous athlete and adventurer. His childhood friends remember him as the kid who rode his bicycle up and down the street doing “wheelies.” Later, his friends in Mexico remembered him as “Charlie,” who did wheelies on his motorcycle in front of the Acapulco Princess Hotel, where he worked for many years.Karl was an avid surfer, windsurfer, sailor and motorcycle enthusiast. He surfed and sailed all over the world. Exploring Baja and mainland Mexico as early as 1960, he had a passion for adventure, speed and the tranquility of his isolated secret surf spots. Karl would travel for months on end, always looking for the perfect beach and the perfect wave. Throughout the years, he sailed across the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean several times, always enjoying the adventure.We have included a few excerpts from his letters to us, so that we may all live his life; one that each of us dreams of and hopes to achieve…”We did have to wear foul weather gear at all times on deck, though, because of the rain or spray. We had to make many sail changes, some of which were at 3 or so in the morning … with the help of the self steering gear we were able to do it with two men … both wearing safety harnesses … at times the bow would have a fair amount of water coming over her & maybe 20 to 25 mph winds … it was pretty exciting & gave me a rush like skiing fast & you know how I like those rushes” (1973, sailing across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to British Virgin Islands).He spent hours in the water, body surfing, jet skiing, surfing, windsurfing and riding his motorcycle on the beach, all part of his daily regimen to keep fit while retired.”I am into my first week of this trip I am into my 45 min. swimming program and enjoying a new book, lots of hammock time and trying to stay out of the sun.” (Sept. 8, 2009).Karl loved children and would teach the local Mexican kids the alphabet and give them puzzles and games to play with. He woke up one morning to “5 children voices, I’m hearing them enjoying life as they always do! Ya” (May 9, 2010).A stray animal did not have a chance. With patience and treats, they would soon become his companion. “I wish I could be with all of you for the holidays but be assured that I will be thinking of you all. I am still the only one allowed to camp here at El Negrito and am enjoying the dogs and the fish. You may recall that I have made friends in the past with squirrels, raccoons and for the last week I have had a Praying Mantas in my camper with me that I have named STICK (no pun intended, Sterling). He is most of the time hard to locate, but am beginning to learn where he likes to hang out while on BUG DUTY” (Dec. 21, 2009).”I have a good place to stay with typical beach resort food about $12 a day … and by doing so I am allowed to stay overnight with shower, bathroom, palapas with hammocks, leave my jet ski on the beach, with being able to get into and out of the water by myself. The waves are not great for riding, but to use it as ramps to jump or prejump to get beyond them and then try to find one with the same shape as a surfer does.” (March 25, 2010).He walked his daughter, Windy, down the aisle in 2007 and became a grandfather in 2010. “Tears of joy are in my eyes for all of us … Now I will continue down the coast to see what is in store for me and hopefully find some good waves to ride my jet ski in.” (Jan. 29, 2010)”Mom is doing well and so happy to be a mom … my granddaughter has blue eyes – must be from my genes…” (June 1, 2010).His family and friends will miss the stories he told, great adventures lived and, of course, just being with him. He was a man who transcended all walks of life, economic, socially, culturally; ultimately he was out for one purpose, that of knowledge and friendship. To all, live your dreams, live life to the fullest and know that the perfect wave is just in the next set!The Karl Griffin Memorial Fund has been set up for the Marsh Children’s Home, an orphanage in Acapulco, Mexico. Donations can be made to: Marsh Children’s Home Acapulco, Inc.; 120 S. Houghton Road Ste. 138-152; Tucson, AZ USA 85748-2155 or visit their website: marshchildrenshome.org.mx/english/index.php. Please reference the fund name on your check or, when donating via the site, reference the fund and add your mailing address.A memorial gathering will be held from 1-4 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2010 in Snowmass Village at the home of Jim and Martha Benson. Please contact Windy Gillespie at email@example.com for details.