Dr Walter P Griffey Jr, age 89 of Paris, Tennessee, died Saturday, June 17, 2023, at his residence. Dr Griffey was born in San Francisco, California in 1933, the eldest son of the late Dr Walter P Griffey Sr. and the late Christine Johnson Griffey. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by his sister, Ann (Dr Chester Burns, Vanderbilt University Medical class of 1963).
He received his early education in New York City and Baltimore, Maryland before entering Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate, followed by attending Vanderbilt University Medical School. He followed in the footsteps of his father, Dr Walter P Griffey Sr, class of 1928, receiving his doctorate of medicine in the class of 1958. He served his medical internship and residency at the University of Mississippi at Jackson, Mississippi where he met and married his wife of 64 years, Carolyn Bourne Griffey. While at the University of Mississippi, he served as Chief Medical Resident before entering the United States Navy as a Lieutenant Commander in Charleston, South Carolina. While in Charleston, he conducted studies and research on heart disease and hypertension and presented his findings at American Heart Association Conventions. He was certified by the American College of Physicians in 1967. Following his military service, he was persuaded by his college roommate, Dr. Gardner Rhea, to join Rhea's clinic in Paris, Tennessee, and give small-town living a try. From the very beginning, he loved Paris, Tennessee. That led him to go on and establish the Griffey Clinic in 1980, where he completed practicing fifty years of medicine before retiring in 2008. Shortly after his retirement, his alma mater, Vanderbilt, honored him for his fifty years of exemplary medical practice. His youngest son, Bo Griffey (Vanderbilt University Undergraduate Program class of 1986) currently owns and runs the family clinic. Early on in his practice in Henry County, he realized there was a need for more mental health services in the area. He persuaded the late Mrs. Sybil Carey Covington to donate land for a mental health center to be named after her parents. The Carey Mental Health Center was born out of these efforts. Governor Ned McWherter of Tennessee was instrumental in securing funds for a four-county (Henry, Gibson, Carroll, and Benton) service area, and it continues today with more extensive services available. Dr. Griffey served on the center's board for thirty years and was honored in 1981 for his enumerable hours of work in mental health for the four counties. Dr. Griffey served as a member of the board of trustees for the Henry County Medical Center, Chief of Staff of HCMC, President of the West Tennessee American Heart Association, and was a distinguished supporter of the Boy Scouts of America with himself and all four sons receiving Eagle Scout status. He was a long-time member of the First Methodist Church of Paris, Tennessee where he served in many capacities. He enjoyed genealogy, history, playing the piano and guitar, sailing, and golf.
Along with his wife, he is survived by four sons, Thomas Griffey, Judge Bruce Griffey (Rebecca), Dr. Bo Griffey (Katie), all of Paris, and Dan Griffey (Susan) of Knoxville, Tennessee; six grandchildren, Jackson Griffey (Jayleigh) of Nashville Tennessee, Eliza Stoots (Brett), Madeleine Griffey, and Mary- Alison Griffey all of Paris, Tennessee, Taylor Griffey, and Parker Griffey of Knoxville, Tennessee; his brother, Dr Thomas Griffey (Joan) of Norfolk, Virginia; his sister-in-law Jackie (Steve) Cutlip of Carey, North Carolina; longtime nurse, Mildred Porter; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Arrangements are being handled by Ridgeway Funeral Home, 201 Dunlap Street/PO Box 788, Paris, Tennessee 38242. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Paris Henry County Heritage Center Historical Garden and Grounds Fund, 614 N Poplar Street, Paris, Tennessee 38242, and the First United Methodist Church Capital Campaign, PO Box 25, Paris, Tennessee 38242.