LAST TRIBUTES PAID TO LATE MR CHAS. GRIFFITHS
Many hundreds of people, representative of all walks of life in the community of Hastings and Napier, paid their last respects to the late Mr. Charles Griffiths at the funeral service in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hastings, this morning and subsequently at the graveside at the Hastings Cemetery.
Speaking to a gathering that filled the church, the Rev. H. A. Mitchell described Mr. Griffiths as a radiant personality who, though in person had gone on, still lived in the minds of his fellow citizens through his personal associations and the many causes he espoused.
‘His whole desire in life was to serve his God and the people. He was a living example of what a Christian man should be. He [his] heart was of gold, and he was a good man in the highest sense of that word,” said the speaker, who briefly outlined the many ways in which Mr. Griffiths had served the community in public service.
Mr. Griffiths was not only a businessman and Christian, he was a Christian businessman, he said, and he earned the respect and high regard of all associated with him, not only in the business community but also in his private life. Many people in Hastings had found in him a true friend in need during times of stress, such as the earthquake disaster, the days of economic depression and in the unsettled times of war.
Then again there had been his intense love and understanding of the young people whom he had served from the very day he arrived in New Zealand nearly 40 years ago.
A wealth of floral tributes accompanied the cortege to the cemetery, where the graveside services we conducted by Mr. Mitchell and the Rev. D. G. Chambers, and the fraternity of the Druids’ Lodge. Among them those from the many local bodies and organisations with which Mr. Griffiths had been associated, but these were outnumbered by hundreds of personal tributes accorded by individual members of the community.
The pall-bearers were Messrs. Robert Harding, W. E. Bate, J. Drummond, T. Crawford, S. A. O’Neill and Irwin Davies (Masterton).
Born in Wales, 72 years ago, Mr. Griffiths came to New Zealand as a young man in 1909, accompanied by his wife and infant son. He settled in Westport, opening a business as boot importer, and moved to Hastings in February 1914, where he opened the business still operated under his name in Heretaunga Street. The premises were demolished by the 1931 earthquake, and later rebuilt.
Community service has always held Mr. Griffiths’ interest. For 12 years he has been a member of the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Board, and has always considered regular visits to the Hastings hospital, where he took a kindly interest in the welfare of patients, as part of his duty.
He was a past chairman of the Hastings Retailers’ Association, a vice-president and executive member of many years’ standing of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce, and a past-president of the Hastings Rotary Club. Mr. Griffiths was also on the committee responsible for the establishment and administration of the Eversley Old People’s Home, he was linked with the Hillsbrook Children’s Home at Havelock North, and was on the Hastings zone patriotic committee.
In 1943 Mr. Griffiths was presented with the Long Service Diploma of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, this honour being conferred at a banquet, followed by Sunday family service the, following day, at which Mr. Griffiths was the preacher.
His many activities must have allowed Mr. Griffiths little time for recreation, although in season he was a keen bowler, and a member of the Kia Toa Bowling Club.
Mr. Griffiths is survived by his widow, and one son, Mr. Rhys Griffiths (Feilding).
The funeral will leave St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hastings, after a service at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. .
“Great Little Man”
Reference to Mr. Griffith’s passing was made at the monthly luncheon meeting of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce, this afternoon. The acting chairman, Mr. A. Kirkpatrick, said members would have a “grand memory of a great little man.”
The late Mr. Griffiths, he said, would be missed by many organisations and hundreds of people in Hawke’s Bay.
Members passed a vote of sympathy with the late Mr. Griffiths’ family, standing in silence.