- Dorothy M. (Smith) Griffin, wife of the late Ralph H. Griffin, died Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, at her home. Dorothy was born March 30, 1921, near Salem, VA. She was the daughter of Emory and May (Stowers) Smith. A graduate of Lewis High School in Salem, she went on to become one of an early generation of women to earn a bachelor's degree in science and math from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, VA. While a student at Virginia Tech, Dorothy struck up a romance with her lab partner, Ralph, who later became her husband. Before their marriage, Dorothy worked at the Beltsville (Maryland) Agricultural Research Center, where she conducted experiments on seedlings. After Ralph completed his service with the U.S. Army, Dorothy taught for a time in Georgia and Virginia.
In 1956, Ralph secured a faculty position in the University of Maine Forestry Department, and the couple—along with their two young sons—moved to Orono. Dorothy spent her first several years in Orono at home raising her boys before returning to teaching. She taught fifth grade at the Helen Hunt School in Old Town for over 20 years, retiring in 1986. Since then, she has been an active volunteer for the Old Town-Orono YMCA and the Church of Universal Fellowship in Orono, where she has been a member since 1958.
Called "Grandma Dot" by both her grandchildren and many others who knew her, Dorothy was quick-witted and inquisitive—known for her Southern accent and her interest in anyone new she happened to meet. She was a fixture at the Orono election polls, where she checked in registered voters and greeted familiar faces. Each fall, she sold household knickknacks alongside her good friend, the late Louise Libby, at the annual Church of Universal Fellowship Harvest Fair. In the spring, she sold tickets for the CUF Daffodil Luncheon, one of her favorite community events.
Dorothy leaves behind three sons and their families: Michael and Valerie (Ludwig), their son Joshua, his wife, Susan (Snow) and their daughter Rylee; David and the late Sandra (Styrna), their son Russell and their daughter Rebecca and her husband, Michael Fournier; and Eric and Colleen (Shannon) and their sons Peter and Marcus.
Relatives and friends are welcome to call 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, December 1, 2016, at the Orono Chapel of Brookings-Smith, 72 Main Street, Orono. A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Friday, December 2, 2016, at the Church of Universal Fellowship, 82 Main St, Orono, with the Rev. Lorna Grenfell, celebrant. Those who wish to remember Dorothy in a special way may make gifts in her memory to the Ralph H. Griffin Memorial Scholarship, 2 Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04473 or to the Old Town-Orono YMCA, 472 Stillwater Avenue, Old Town, ME 04468. Condolences to the family may be expressed at .