Robert (Bob) Griggs
Robert (Bob) Griggs, 68, won his twenty-eight year war with Parkinson’s disease on July 12, 2019, at his home, surrounded by family and loved ones. He was born August 11, 1950, to Billy Joe and Reba Howell Griggs of Campbell, Mo. Bob attended Holcomb High School, where he graduated as one of the most loved in his class. Following graduation, he enrolled at Oakland City College, Oakland City, Ind., for two years where he was a standout baseball player. Afterward he transferred to the prestigious Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo., where he obtained his Bachelors of Science Degree in Education.
After one year of teaching health and coaching basketball in Bell City, Mo., he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps because he wanted to learn to fly. In September 1973, he left for Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Vir. He voluntarily completed six months of infantry training after OCS, transferring to Pensacola, Fla., for flight school where he was trained and flew the fixed wing T28 Trojan aircraft, and the rotary wings, Bell UH-1N Twin Huey and the Bell AH-1 Cobra. He completed his first solo flight in the T28 Trojan aircraft off the USS Okinawa on Oct. 12, 1974. He was later transferred to the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron HMA-169 at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, Calif., where his squadron engaged in rigorous amphibious training at sea and combined exercises at shore. After a short time at Camp Pendleton, he was transferred to the NAS Whiting Field in Milton, Fla., where continued his military career with the HT-18 Vigilant Eagles. This unit was established to meet the necessary requirements for helicopter trained pilots in the expanding helicopter community of the Navy, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. Throughout his Marine Corps career, Bob was not only a pilot, but was also a flight instructor and held officer positions in areas such Legal, Aircrew, Parachute Loft, Avionics, Quality Assurance, and was a Test & Special Check Pilot. He earned a captain rank and received an honorable discharge from the United States Marine Corps in March 1985 earning the National Defense Service Medal, Pistol Expert Badge - 2nd award, and Rifle Sharpshooter Badge. Robert J. Griggs was reported by his superiors as “an alert, sincere, and highly dedicated officer,” “his aeronautical ability unsurpassed and influences other pilots towards higher standards of professionalism,” and he was an “outstanding officer and aviator.”
During his Marine Corps career, Bob attended seminary school at Faith Bible College in Milton, Fla. He was ordained at Burgess Road Baptist Church.
In 1985, Bob attended the Florida Highway Patrol Academy in Tallahassee, Fla. He was stationed in Fort Myers, Fla. During his career as a Florida State Trooper he was commended for being one of the “Top Troopers” in Troop F June 1987 with the most DUI arrests.
He left Florida in 1987 to return home to his roots where his state trooper background allowed him to join the Blytheville Police Department. He was chosen to be the first patrolman to start the BPD Bicycle Patrol. This unit consisted of four officers to patrol the streets of Blytheville. He served the citizens of Blytheville until he was forced to medically retire and received multiple accolades for his outstanding job performance during his career.
Following his patrolman career, he started Griggs Private Investigative Services so “now you can know.”
During his years as a Blytheville Police Officer, he continued his love for flying helicopters. He joined the Army National Guard of Arkansas Company B 1st Battalion 114th Aviation Unit at Camp Robinson, North Little Rock, Ark., in 1989. He was approved as a warrant officer and placed on the Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter. He attended the AH-1 Aircraft Qualification and Gunnery School at the Army National Guard Western Army Aviation Training Site in Tucson, Ariz. He earned multiple awards during his career in the National Guard including the Award for Senior Army Aviator, Army Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, and the Arkansas Service Ribbon for his “unlimited potential.” His superiors stated, “His technical and tactical expertise as an AH-1 pilot in command is unrivaled in the unit. He sets the standard by which the unit’s aviators are measured, and he provides a solid example of aviation excellence to less experienced aviators.” “CW3 Griggs is a leader and a prime example of a Senior Warrant Officer Peer motivator.” He retired from the Army National Guard in August 2010. During his career in the Army National Guard, he also flew an EMS helicopter for Pafford Emergency Medical Services in Madison, Miss.
Bob was a member of Bethany Baptist Church in Gosnell, where he was a Sunday school teacher until Parkinson’s disease took his ability to verbally communicate. He had one rule in his class - Chapter and Verse. Meaning to have an opinion about the Bible, you had to back it up. Still, his faith never wavered. Despite all his military and police accomplishments, his most beloved accomplishment was his knowledge of the Bible and his love for Jesus.
Bob enjoyed watching the St. Louis Cardinals and Arkansas Razorbacks. He was an avid deer and turkey hunter; and enjoyed building and spending his time at his cabin, 4 Bucks Ridge in Evening Shade. He loved spending time with friends and family, where he was a marvelous storyteller that ensured everyone around him smiled as much as possible. Bob adamantly studied his Bible, and was elated to share his plethora of knowledge with anyone who wanted to learn. He never complained openly, and exemplified God’s unwavering strength every day, just as his favorite Bible character, Job.
Bob is survived by his wife, Maureen Payne Griggs of the home; his children, Ryan Griggs and his wife Kim, Jennifer Orton and her husband Jason, Cody Griggs and his fiance Devon Gaddes, Beau Griggs, all of Blytheville, Adam Griggs of Pensacola, Fla.; his grandchildren, Weston and Hallee Griggs, Jensyn and Jadyn Orton, and Sawyer Griggs, all of Blytheville, Heather Colburn and her husband Zac, Hannah Tyler and her husband Carson; great-grandchildren, Lily Kate and Lawson Suber, Mac Colburn ,and Hanson Tyler, all of Manila; his mother, Reba Griggs of Benton; his sisters, Barbara Overall and husband Corley, Shea Delaney and her husband Derek all of Benton, Sheila Carr and her husband Bruce of Busselton, Australia; and a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives.
He was preceded in death by his father, Billy Joe Griggs, and his father-in-law, Charles Mace Payne, and mother-in-law, Anna Payne.
Visitation was held Tuesday, July 16, from 5-7 p.m. Funeral will be Wednesday, July 17, at 10 a.m. Both services will be held at Bethany Baptist Church in Gosnell. He will be laid to rest with honors on Wednesday, July 17, at 2 p.m. at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in Birdeye. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Bethany Baptist Church Building Fund.
Cobb Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements and condolences to the family may be expressed on line at www.cobbfuneralhome.com.