Peacefully on Sunday, July 4th, Homer "Silky" Griffith passed on, hand in hand with his long time partner Betty at the age of 96. Following a recent fall and subsequent surgery Silky spent his final days near the beautiful ocean and his loving partner Betty GeFell. Recently Silky was plagued by numerous physical issues that tried to slow him down, yet in his driving ambition to reach 100, slow was not an option. His final day included a shopping trip aboard his beloved Silky G automobile, as passion was an integral part of his entire life.
Born June 12, 1914 in Los Angeles to transplanted mid-westerners Edwin and Emma Griffith. Known then as Homer, he started his American Dream at 14 by delivering milk in East Pasadena for Community Dairy, saving his money for the family and his first car.
With a great love of the outdoors and a passion for hiking, Homer climbed every tall mountain in southern California including Mt. Whitney, Telescope Peak, San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, Mt. Baldy and Mt. Charleston in Nevada. Photography was a skill he developed early and made his own darkroom and special cameras and home made lens to capture the beautiful scenes of California.
Silky qualified for the Pasadena Post Office in 1946 and wore his shiny hat for 27 years. Loved for the "personal" service to his "customers" on the route, Homer delighted everybody with his pleasing smile and positive attitude as though they were family.
Always light on his feet, Homer developed a love of dancing in the early 1970's and continued professionally teaching square and round dancing until well into his 90's. With his dancing partner, Betty, Homer gained the nickname "Silky" for his ease and manner about the dance floor. Gaining a wide popularity, Silky and Betty hosted local weekly dances and led worldwide Cruises, and special events at Camp Seely in Crestline. Their professionalism was unmatched in round dance circles. For his 90th birthday, friends and family entertained well over 400 guests to honor his accomplishments.
|Having ridden the Great Incline Car to Echo Mountain when he was 11 years old, he had a wealth of Mt. Lowe photographs, including his most famous one taken through a telescope. The photograph was taken with a German Voitlander Camera through a French 45 power telescope.|
|He always loved the mountains and the history of the Railway. He attended the Centennial on July 4,1993 at Echo Mountain, celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the opening of the White City and the Railway To The Clouds at the top of the Mountain. Then almost 2 years later, the Centennial for the opening of the Mt. Lowe Tavern (Alpine Tavern). He invited me, Lee Zebold, and that was my first introduction to the Forest Service Volunteers (technical name being the "Scenic Mt. Lowe Railway Historical Committee") who had assembled under the leadership of Brian Marcroft. I immediately joined the group, and became an active member from then on.|
Every year thereafter we would have annual public excursions to the Alpine Tavern for a presentation, and sharing of stories and memorabilia. Silky would love to come up on these occasions and address the crowd telling his story of how he once rode the Great Incline himself as a boy. See a video of him at age 94, in December, 2008 as he addressed the crowd at the public excursion gathering (Mt. Lowe Tavern site).
Silky not only helped with the historical presentations, but he would love to join the group to hike over to Inspiration Point, about 1/4 mile from the Alpine Tavern site.
Silky was laid to rest at the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena on July 12, 2010.
This is a particular moving piece for me to post up here as I knew and loved Silky as a personal friend, and part of my family, as his long time companion of almost 40 years is my Aunt Betty, and Silky became part of our lives. It is difficult to say goodbye to my good friend.
Silky's family on Betty's side at the grave site.
Silky is behind us in the casket.
(He's smiling too)