Patricia “Patty” Griffith, 61, passed away June 3, 2021 at Sunnyside Washington, after losing an extended battle with cancer. Patty was the oldest of 3 children born to Jim and Ruth Griffith on November 25th 1959 in Chelan, Washington. Patty attended Manson schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. She was a good student and also loved extra-curricular activities. She was a member of the Knowledge Bowl team, played the piano for the choir, the trumpet in band, and was on the varsity softball, volleyball and basketball teams.
After graduating from Manson High School, she attended Eastern Washington University where she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Education and Master’s Degree in Education. She took a teaching position at Granger High School, where she spent 5 years coaching and teaching before moving on to Harrison Middle School, where she taught and coached for 32 years. She loved her job and the thousands of students that passed through her classes and teams. She was always willing to go the extra mile to encourage and support any student who was in need of a little extra help. In addition to her teaching duties, Patty was also the Activities Coordinator where she planned assemblies, painted murals, and did whatever she thought would inspire the kids. In 2008, Patty was awarded the Golden Apple for Secondary Teacher of the Year, and another Golden Apple in 2019 as the Middle School Extracurricular Staff Member of the Year. She stressed the importance of having a positive attitude to her students, professing that no matter what they do, reacting to their circumstances with a positive attitude will put them in charge of their life. She lived that creed with boundless energy. In the spring, she could be seen dragging the fields in preparation for softball season. In the fall, she would be planning her volleyball strategy to best showcase her team’s talent. Even with seasons that racked up more losses than wins, Patty pushed the kids to see the value of working hard to improve, regardless of the score. Life lessons.
Patty was also blessed to have worked with incredibly talented faculty and staff. She spoke often about teaching partners with decades of stories about students’ antics and, quite often, her own. She was never one to shy away from a practical joke, producing that beaming smile and boisterous laugh at the end of a caper, her bright blue eyes shining with joy. The relationships she built within her school family were precious to her. Through 90 degree heat out on the fields trying to get kids to be active, to the challenges of teaching health to middle school kids, it’s the comradery and friendships of her coworkers that remained steady. In her illness, she was incredibly thankful for the outpouring of love and unwavering support from her school community.
Patty was recruited to help at Evergreen Girls State several year ago, after a last-minute cancellation of a staff member. As often happens in life, this unplanned inclusion sparked a passion. Patty inspired young women to get involved in understanding local and national politics, promoting inclusion in the democratic process. She continued working with Girls State for 18 years and Girls Nation in Washington D.C. for 10 years, having the opportunity to meet Presidents Bush and Obama, in addition to a host of congresspeople and senators.
Traveling was also a passion for Patty. She was a Disney fan and made several trips to Disneyland and Disney World with nieces, nephews, and other friends and family. On a trip to Universal Studios one year, Patty treated her fellow travelers with ‘Executives Passes’, allowing them to bypass the long lines. Under the radar giving was a hallmark for Patty, never wanting thanks or praise.
Family and tradition were incredibly important to Patty, heading back to Manson for holidays and making a family favorite, jello pretzel salad. These visits included a yearly trek to watch the Manson Apple Blossom Parade each spring. At the parade in 2018, Patty was celebrated for her role as Apple Blossom Princess 40 years prior. Most times, if you needed anything, Patty would already be a step ahead. When her brother was sick, she stepped in to help with his kids during some tough times. She continued to be a loving aunt to her nieces and nephews, a supportive sister to her brothers and sisters-in-law, and a generous presence to her parents. Her friendship with Andrea has spanned nearly four decades.
Patty would say to those who loved and cared for her, they should not cry because her life has ended, but to rejoice because of her life was well lived. Our prayer should be prayers of thanks for having the many years we shared together. She always wished the very best to all those she came in contact with.
Patty is survived by her father Jim of Manson Washington, her brother Earl (Heidi) of Manson, sister-in-law Annette Griffith of DesMoines Washington, her friend Andrea Dobson of Sunnyside, and many other special family members and friends. She was preceded in death by her mother Ruth and brother Matt.
Patty’s family would like to thank the Just Like Home Resident Care staff for the wonderful support and attention they gave Patty.
Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. at the Smith Funeral Home Chapel in Sunnyside, WA. Those wishing to sign Patricia's online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com Smith Funeral Home is in care of arrangements.
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