VISITS TO KEN'S GRAVESIDE
(Updated November 2006)

14th May 2001. Frank Pugno writes: Today a friend drove me to Lincoln Memorial Park in Aurora, Illinois.  It is a medium size cemetery in the middle of an open area, the sections are small.  We found Ken Griffin's grave with no trouble at all.  We took some pictures, including one of me in back of his stone.  His father (Artie) rests next to him.  My friend is in his eighties and he thanked Ken for all the music over the years.  I then patted his stone with my hand and thanked him for the motivation he gave to me and other organists over the years.  It was a very moving experience to be at that site. This was a great chapter in my life, and I am very happy to have finally found Ken's resting place.

14.03.02
 A Visit To Ken's Graveside on the 46th Anniversary of his Death

On the 46th anniversary of Ken death, which was also the same age as when he died. Frank Pugno arranged to pay our respects by taking a few cards, sent by myself and Don Boudreaux. Frank was met by Brian Wessel and they enjoyed meeting for the first time and chatting about Ken. It is nice to know that nearing half a century since his death, Ken is still remembered by his faithful fans. Frank took a few picture of which two are presented below.

 
 
On the left is Brian Wessel, next to Ken and his father's graves. On the Right is Ken's grave with our cards.

============================================

Bill & The Griffin Family's Visit to Ken's Graveside
(31. 08. 02)

I was last in the States in 1984 and wished to visit Ken's grave but didn't get the information from the hospital where he died It has taken me all these years to get back but this time, thanks to Frank Pugno I not only had the information, but because of the Dedication Evening I had the added pleasure of visiting with Kirby, Kay and Kerry Griffin. To say it was a moving experience can't even start to explain how I felt to be there. Being with the family was perfect and on approaching the headstone and lying my hand on the stone, all I could think of to say was "Hi Ken, it's been a long time" and after a few moments of standing in silence my thoughts just wandered over the years of knowing him through his music and how over the 46 years since his death we managed to finally get so many of his remaining fans together for this well deserved dedication.. After the family paid their respects we started to talk about Ken and share some of their memories of him. It was the perfect timing for this long wished for visit and a very personal satisfaction.

 
      Bill Reid next to Ken's headstone                   Kerry Griffin, his aunt Kay and his father Kirby

==========================================

Sally and Bill's Visit on Sunday 19th October 2003

It was with many thanks to Bob Potts and his wife Cindy, who kindly drove Sally and myself to visit Ken's grave. We had been trying to arrange a visit, possibly a day or two after the dedication Show but no-one we knew with a car could fit those times in and it was a lovely surprise when Bob offered to take us immediately after the show. This was fitted in between the time the others were clearing up the hall and before we were to all meet at a local restaurant for an even meal. It worked out perfectly. We arrived at Ken's graveside with the evening sun near the point of setting and very bright and low.

It was a very moving moment in which Sally laid a few flowers on both Ken's and his father's headstones and kissed them gently and stood for a moment with the years of personal thoughts passing through her mind and I must admit I too had to hold back my feelings and keep my cool in Sally's support, but it was a moment that will remain with me for ever and both Sally and I share our heartfelt thanks to Bob for his kindness on taking us there. 

.
Sally clears the autumn leaves from Ken's headstone     Sally & Bill by Ken and his father's headstones

==============================

50th ANNIVERSARY GRAVESIDE VISIT

1956 - 2006

On a cool morning on the 11th of March 2006, Bob & Cindy Potts accompanied by Frank Pugno and Brian Wessel met at Ken's graveside in Oswego, Aurora, Illinois. They had gathered to commemorate the passing of 50 years, to the date, of the passing of Ken at only 46 years old and still at his peak in popularity as an International recording artist and an American organist, still performing regularly at the Old Heidelberg in Chicago. It was while appearing at the Old Heidelberg that Ken took ill and suffered a heart attack, which he never recovered from.

Apart from the sadness of his loss to his family and closest friends, Ken left a massive band of fans around the World who also felt the loss and the even sadder loss of what Ken could have gone on to produce had he had the time to move on with recording technology and could well have been around to  have got into the digital age, and we can but wonder what he would have done with that, when you consider that he produced his wonderful over-dubbed recordings with 1950's technology.

it is testement to the impact that Ken made in the electric organ World that not only are his records being played by his dedicated fans, be it at home or on their portable CD and mp3 players but that for the last six years the Ken Griffin Organ Society came together and have put on an annual Dedication Show where Frank Pugno and Eric Larson perform the 'Griffin Sound' to an appreciated audiance.

And so, it was on this March morning that our friends met at Ken's graveside and performed a dedicative service and played some of Ken's recordings. Ken is buried alongside his father Artie and most of the heastones here lay flat and are easily overlooked and it is through the kindness of Bryon Young that Ken's grave has now got a very pleasant plaque giving details of who Ken was. For the occassion a lovely boquette of flowers was also layed by Ken's headstone.

While the group was small on the day I know that it would have been much larger but for the fact that some members couldn't get the time off and like myself just live too far way to have made the visit economical. However, a good number of us had syncronised our thoughts and wherever we were in the World all played, at least, Ken's greatest hit record 'You Can't Be True, Dear' at the time this gathering had been arranged. Some members. like myself, played Ken's records for a while throughout that day, so once again Ken's music was being played around the World at the same time. E.G. in the U.K. Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark and Belgium, not to forget the United States, where Ken's nephew, Kirby Griffin, his niece, Kay Vega and their families also gave their thoughts to Ken and played his music.

It is indeed almost impossible to think that half a century has gone by but it is also incredible that Ken has never been forgotten and for his family and fans The Melody, really does, Linger On.


          Ken's Headstone                                                                          Ken's Father's Headstone


 Bob Potts, Brian Wessel and Frank Pugno


Cindy & Bob Potts with Frank Pugno


The Plaque made by Bryon Young

==============================

50 YEARS ANNIVERSARY RESPONSE   

Hi, Bill!

We were all tuned into yesterday's event. I played several different pieces of Ken's music including "You Can't Be True Dear". It is so hard to believe that it is 50 years!  

All the best to you,  

Kirby Griffin (Oregon, U.S.A.)

--------------------------------------------------

Anniversary dates are impossible to forget and sad to remember. And the older we get, the more there are to remember. I decided several years ago to remember to give thanks that Iím still around to remember.

Dr Hugh Glenn. California, U.S.A. (Johnny Costa Webmaster) 

--------------------------------------------------

Hi, Bill;  

Had problems yesterday to get the signatur tune of Ken from the page,- after a few notes, it was silent.  So I played it on my B-model - plus a number of other - including "My best to you".  Unbelievable it is 50 years since Ken passed away. Difficult to understand. One can almost feel that he has been along with us all the time by his beautiful music which never will die!  The melody lingers on.....................!

Wilfred & Bente Hoasteland (Norway) .

--------------------------------------------------

Ray Harrison who lives in New Zealand emailed to say that he Played 'You Can't Be True Dear on the 11th. Of March, 2006. 

--------------------------------------------------

Dear Bill,

My tribute to Ken Griffin today was to play as many of his recordings as I could from my collection.  It has been such a pleasure to refresh myself with a number of his tracks.  My favourite collection is the one put together by yourself very early in our communications.  It is rather a treasure.  My all time favourites Ė that I grew up with in our household Ė are In an 18th Century Drawing Room, Cecile Waltz, Side By Side and Louise.  My parents must have purchased this recording a few years before Kenís death.  

It is amazing how many people still know the name of Ken Griffin 50 years on Ė thanks I guess to the introduction of the 12Ē LP that sustained his music over so many decades.

Bruce Maclean (Mildura, Victoria, Australia.

--------------------------------------------------

Hi Bill,  

I played "You Can't be True Dear at 10:48 AM our time on March 11. It does not seem possible that 50 years has elapsed since Ken was alive. It seems like only a relatively short while ago that I was 13 years old and first heard Ken's Columbia record by that title in the summer of 1957. It is interesting to speculate how my life changed because of that, because I had no real interest in the organ until hearing that record, but after hearing it three times in succession, I determined to learn to play and thus active music making has been an integral part of my life ever since.

You are right; Ken's music will continue to provide enjoyment, most likely indefinitely and also to people who don't even exist yet but who will ultimately find a common link to us all through his music.  

Slainte,  Eric  Larson, (Boston, U.S.A.

--------------------------------------------------

Hi Bill,  

Let it be recorded that I listened to the MP3 at 7:15pm on the 11th.  

I have written a short article about the cemetery visit and am attaching it for your convenience.  The service was very nice.  

Frank Pugno, Berwyn, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. (See Frank's report, below)

--------------------------------------------------  

Bill, et al,

Certain events are so significant in our lives, and Ken's 50th anniversary is certainly at the top of that list.  On this day I listened to his "You Can't Be True Dear" many times, all the while trying to visualize him at the console.  Aren't we all so lucky to have special people come (and go) in our lives.  We are also so blessed to have several who have followed in his footsteps, and are able to keep his music alive for us.  God bless them!

Bill, thanks for all the work you do to keep us all in tune with our dear friend Ken.  It doesn't go unnoticed!

Sincerest Regards,
Don Downin (Mesa, AZ.  USA)

--------------------------------------------------  

I spent Sunday listening to Ken while I built shelves in my music room! Now I am paying for it (my back) I am so glad it all went well - I agree with you memories are great. I put fifty years of playing Hammonds on my CD and it is hard to believe that much time has gone by!

Bob Hutchinson, Aberdeen, Ohio, U.S.A.

--------------------------------------------------  

I would officially like to state that I listened to the Ken Griffin track at approximately 6:25a.m. Eastern Standard time on March 11 2006.

Jack Pomerantz (Ontario, Canada).

--------------------------------------------------

Jeff Wellbank of Fleetwood (Near Blackpool) Lancashire, England phoned to say that he played "You Can''t Be True, Dear, a number of times from 11am, U.K. Time.

--------------------------------------------------

I kept things simple on Saturday evening and simply played You Can't Be True, Dear a number of times from the internet link, over an hour or so and each time it filled my thoughts of the passing years and of all the others who have kindly taken part in this dedication to Ken in various parts of the World. It is very rewarding that after all these years so many still think so much about Ken and his music to remember him in this way.

Bill Reid, Oxfordshire, England.

--------------------------------------------------

Ken Griffin 50th Memorial Anniversary 

by Frank Pugno 

            March 11, 2006 was a cloudy day in Chicago with thunderstorms in the forecast for the night.  It was 60 degrees, unseasonably warm for this time of year.  Brian Wessel and I arrived at Lincoln Memorial Park at 3:30 and Bob Potts and his wife were already there.

          The plaque was inserted into the vase stand with Brian, Bob and I each taking a turn, filling the dirt around the plaque.  Then, a beautiful white bouquet, donated by the Griffin family, was placed to the side of the plaque. 

                The service began with Ken playing The Old Rugged Cross from his album Enduring Hymns, followed by a short prayer by Bob Potts.  Bob then read aloud the commemorative cards that were sent for this occasion, followed by a few of his own words.  Brian and I then shared some of our reflections.  This was followed by the playing of Kenís recording of You Canít Be True, Dear, after which we took some photographs at Ken Griffinís grave. 

--------------------------------------------------

With thanks and appreciation to Frank Pugno, Brian Wessel, Bryon Young, for designing the dedicative plaque and to Bob and Cindy Potts for the time and effort they have put into making this 50th Anniversary Dedication possible and giving a dedicative service at the graveside.

 --------------------------------------------------

If you wish to have your thoughts and comments added to this page we would be pleased to hear from you.
Email contact address on the Home Page.

Back

This page brought to you by:
VintageHammond.Com - We Buy-Sell-Trade Vintage Hammond Organs and Roll or Kari Organ/Vending Machine Moving Dollies Order Roll or Kari Dollies Here