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Founding Member of Hemingway Foundation Passes Away

Redd F. Griffin, 73, was a tireless supporter of Oak Park and an unabashed fan of Hemingway.

A life-long resident of Oak Park who was passionate about both the town and its most well-known resident has died.

Redd F. Griffin, a founding member and past president of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, passed away Nov. 20 at Oak Park Hospital. He was 73.

According to the foundation, Griffin was born and raised in Oak Park and was a graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School.

He served in the U.S. Army stationed in Berlin when he witnessed President John F. Kennedy's famous visit to that city in June 1963. He also was there a few months later when Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963.

Griffin worked at the Chicago City News Bureau and WTTW. He served as a state representative in the Illinois General Assembly in the 1980s when the Equal Rights Amendment was turned back, according to an essay he wrote for Wednesday Journal.

According to his profile on LinkedIn, Griffin twice served as a member of the Illinois State Historical Society executive committee and was chair of the Oak Park Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.

He was the Foundation’s ambassador to the Chicago area, speaking at libraries, fellowship groups and meetings across the suburbs.

Redd Griffin’s contributions to all things Hemingway over the past four decades are incalculable, said Foundation Chairman John W. Berry.

"The depth and breadth of his understanding of the past and current cultural landscape, that he so readily shared, touched a great many lives.  We imagine that Ernest and Redd will now have another lifetime of very lively conversations,” said Berry in a statement posted on the Foundation's website.  

Griffin is survived by his wife Mary Jo; his sons Daniel and Timothy; two grandchildren, his brother Michael Griffin and his sister Marnie Fretty.

Visitation will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. A funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Nov. 27 at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in River Forest. Burial will be at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.

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