William Ray ‘Billy’ Griffith | AspenTimes.com

William Ray ‘Billy’ Griffith

William Ray Griffith of Eagle died Saturday at his home. He was 57.

A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 4, at the Eagle Pavilion.

Griffith was born July 2, 1946, in Topeka, Kan., to Rosalie Marie and Glen Griffith.

He attended the University of Kansas at Lawrence, where he became a champion swimmer of near-Olympic level with the Jay Hawk swim team.

He moved to Aspen in 1965.

He married Vail resident and photographer Wendy Sue Arnett (Ruhstorfer) in 1983. In 1989, he built a custom home for their family on Brush Creek south of Eagle.

Griffith, who was self-employed as a stonemason, began working as a building inspector for the town of Eagle in 2000, earning respect from contractors, laborers and homeowners with his knowledge, sincere eagerness to help and warm personality.

His passion for competitive swimming continued with his participation in Colorado Masters Swimming, where he won ribbons and medals at state and national competitions. He even earned a first-place and two second-place ribbons at the COMSA Short Course State Championships in April 2003, after being diagnosed with stage IV melanoma.

He also had a great passion for music. He loved to play guitar with musicians of all levels, from beginning mariachi shakers to well-known professional players. His annual birthday party was a musical event of legendary proportions.

Griffith had a huge capacity to dream and inspire, a childlike appetite for fun, an infectious smile, and plenty of passion, compassion and generosity. He will continue to be an inspiration to all who knew him.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Rosalie Marie Griffith.

He is survived by his wife, Wendy; sons Wesley Griffith and Clayton Griffith; his father, Glen Griffith; a sister, Glenda Griffith; and half-brothers Michael Griffith and Brian Griffith.

An education fund for his sons has been established at Alpine Bank. Farnum Holt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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