Johnny Carl Griffis was born on Oct. 23, 1946, to John Allen and Clara Del Griffis in Vivian, Caddo Parish, Louisiana. He married Shelia Landis, and born to them was his first son, Jeffery Lynn Griffis on Oct. 3, 1969. He later married Lola Kay McElmurry, and born to them was his second son, John Ray Griffis, on Aug. 31, 1979.
Johnny was preceded in death by his loving wife of 46 years Lola Kay Griffis, his father John Allen Griffis, his mother Clara Del Griffis, and his younger brother Jerry Mac Griffis.
He is survived by son Jeffrey Griffis and wife Pamela and granddaughter Connie Griffis all of Needville, Texas, Amy Sutton and husband Brian of Dallas, Texas, and Bradley Dietrich, property of the U.S. Army; son John Ray Griffis and wife Jennifer and their three children; Dallas Griffis, Alec Griffis, and Sean Griffis, all of Wolforth, Texas; brother-in-law Raymon McElmurry and wife Eva Lou; two sisters, Sharon Coody and husband Joe of Pecos, Texas, and Beverly Hathorn and husband Doug of Pecos; and his beloved canine Fred, who now resides in Pecos.
Johnny joined the U.S. Army on April 7, 1967, in Pecos. He completed his military service in the Texas Army National Guard, receiving the Sharpshooter Badge for M1 rifle and Experts Badge for M14 rifle. He was also an MvR specialty driver. He was honorably discharged Sept. 15, 1971, and went on to complete two more years in the Reserves. He was a devout veteran and patriot, proudly displaying flags and support for his country.
Following in his father’s steps, he worked as a diesel mechanic all his life. He loved CAT diesel work, and often said, “Diesel runs through my veins.”
He settled in Odessa, Texas, following his military service, and moved to Alpine, Texas, in 1991, where he lived until his death.
He was a proud and devoted Mason, serving as District Deputy Grand Master several times. He had advanced to the 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason, and he was a Shriner. He was also an active member of the American Legion, and had served as a commander.
He loved fishing, hunting, traveling, and racing. He enjoyed his first great travel adventure on the high seas with his son Jeff just last year as he traveled across the waves to Cozumel, Grand Caymans, and Jamaica. He kissed his first fish, a dolphin, instead of skinning and eating it.
He began racing at the early age of 16 on the streets of Pecos. Upon needing some new tires and asking his dad for the money to help buy them, Big John told him to “go down to Al’s and scrape them off the pavement.” He soon started to race asphalt circle track cars at Twin City Speedway in Odessa, and was later involved in dirt track racing with John Ray and grandson, Alec. There were often three generations of family racers together at the track.
Johnny was also a member of the prestigious Table of Knowledge at Magoo’s Place that met every morning for coffee. His colleges of wisdom were Jim, Johnny, Charlie, Paul, Don, Kevin, Steve, Joseph, Danni, and Salina.
He was a devoted husband, father, son, brother, grandfather, and friend. He loved the outdoors, he cherished his membership in the Masonic Lodge, and he loved the smell of diesel and racing fuel.
As his health began to fail, he continued to strive to live on his own. His family and devoted friends were able to allow this even though, toward the end, it was heavy on their hearts. He passed away in the early morning hours of Feb. 9 with his sweet canine companion, Fred, by his side.
Public viewing will be held Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, from 9 a.m-noon. Graveside service will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Elm Grove Cemetery in Alpine, Texas.
Alpine Memorial Funeral Home has been entrusted with his services. Online condolence may be made at alpinememorialfuneralhome.com.