Billy Griffith, competitive swimmer from Eagle, dies
William Ray “Billy” Giffith, 57, died at his home on Brush Creek at sunrise on Saturday. He had been battling cancer since being diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma in April.
He was born July 2, 1946 in Topeka, Kan. Griffith attended the University of Kansas at Lawrence where he became a champion swimmer on the Jayhawk swim team, reaching near Olympic levels, friends and family members say.
Griffith often participated in Colorado Masters Swimming competitions. He collected an abundance of ribbons and medals from state and national competitions. He earned one first- and two second-place ribbons at the Short Course State Championships in April, after being diagnosed with the fatal cancer.
Griffith arrived in Colorado in 1965, when he settled in Aspen. He was employed as a stone mason for many years. He came to the Eagle Valley in 1983 when he married longtime local resident and photographer Wendy Sue Arnett (Ruhstorfer). He built their custom home on Brush Creek in 1989.
The Griffths have two sons, Wesley, born in 1984, and Clayton, born in 1987.
In 2000, Griffith was hired by the town of Eagle as a building inspector. In that job, he earned much respect from contractors, laborers, and home owners alike with his knowledge, eagerness, and warm personality, friends and family members say.
In addition to his passion for swimming, Griffith had a passion for music. He loved to play is guitar with musicians of all levels, from beginning Mariachi shakers to well known professional players. His annual birthday party was a musical event of local legendary proportions, friends and family members say.
Griffith will be remembered for his huge capacity to dream and inspire; his child-like appetite for fun; his infectious smile, his passions, compassion, and ever-flowing generosity, friends and family members say
Billy Griffith is survived by his wife, Wendy; his sons; his father, Dr. Glen Griffith and stepmother Vickey Griffith; sister Glenda Griffith; and brothers Michael and Brian Griffith. His mother, Rosalie Marie Griffith, preceded him in death.
A memorial and celebration of his life will be held at Eagle Valley Middle School on Jan. 4 at 3 p.m. An education fund for Griffith’s sons has been established at Alpine Bank.