Many framed texts were hung in Nana and Grandad’s house. “As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord”, “Christ is the head of this house, the unseen guest at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation.” and “What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”
With Syd O’Neil able to manage the shop, Grandad became Chairman of the Presbyterian Social Service Association in the Hawkes Bay Region, and was enthusiastic for their projects. He was instrumental in establishing a new Children’s Home at Havelock North and he was very pleased at the improvement in their friend Annie Barker after he got her into a PSSA Home for the elderly.
He also served on the Hawkes Bay Hospital Board for many years and regularly went to the Hastings Hospital on Sunday afternoons to visit patients who had no other visitors. If we were staying, he liked to take a little granddaughter with him. He wrote, “patients know me and if they have any complaints or wish to get anything special, they tell me.”
Grandad was active in Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Retailers Association, Patriotic Committees and a Member of the Licensing Committee. In community groups he was valued for his realistic common sense and sense of humour.
Grandad as a man
A three piece suit, particularly the waist coat, was a characteristic of Grandad’s appearance with his fob watch and its gold chain across his middle. He smoked a pipe which took quite a bit of lighting, Glenys remembers sitting on his knee watching the ﬂame dip down and up and being allowed to blow the match out.
Grandad drove a large Morris with leather seats and wooden dash board. Classic car buffs tell us it sounds like the Morris Woolsey [Wolseley], – a car so large for a small man that people used to tease that he saw the road through, rather than over, the steering wheel. He tended to ride the clutch so that the engine roared.
A stock of little jokes, usually church based, kept us amused. “We know that they had Sunday School races in the Bible because it says ‘Moses came fo(u)rth’ “. At Christmas, Nana used to put boiled sixpences in the Christmas pudding but Grandad would ﬁnd shillings and half crowns in his helping! We were mystiﬁed till we discovered him, before the meal, scrubbing up a pocket-full of change.
His minister in an obituary said “It is probable that no man in Hastings had more friends or was more widely respected than Mr. Grifﬁths. This ﬁne Christian gentleman with the loving heart and the helping hand has made a lasting place for himself in the memory of Hastings.”