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Cary LaVerne Griffith, 77

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Cary LaVerne Griffith, age 77 of Nashua, died Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at Evergreen Arbor in the Bartels Lutheran Retirement Home from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Funeral services will be held 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 19, 2024, at St. John Lutheran Church, Nashua, with the Rev. Todd Burrichter presiding.

Inurnment will take place following the service at Oak Hill Cemetery in Nashua.

Friends may greet the family from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 18, 2024, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory/ Olson Chapel in Nashua.

Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory/Olson Chapel in Nashua have been entrusted with arrangements.

Cary was born March 13, 1947 to Betty and Willard Griffith in Des Moines. He grew up in Redfield, where his love of sports was evident at an early age when he excelled in basketball, football, track and baseball and competed at the state track meet. He played tuba in the band and sang in the choir, although at contest time, he was asked to turn pages for the accompanist.

He went on to play quarterback at Tarkio College in Missouri where he also ran track and competed in the Drake Relays in the steeplechase. Cary graduated from college in 1969 and began his teaching career at Orient-Macksburg. He also coached several sports and took his girls basketball team to the illustrious one class, 6-on-6 state tournament in 1973.

His great love for sports continued after college as he played semi-pro football, softball, and basketball with the Adel area “Snakes,” where he met some of his closest friends.

In 1973, Andie was born and the family moved to Nashua where Cary taught math and was instrumental in setting up the first computer lab. He coached the Bulldogs and later the Huskies in multiple sports, as well as continued to officiate and umpire all over Northeast Iowa. During his career, he impacted countless students, athletes, fellow teachers and coaches.

Travis was born in 1975 and soon Cary was left as a single dad, certainly not an easy job. He took on that role as he did every other thing he did, because of his love for his family.

Through mutual friends and relatives, he met Kris in 1989. They were married in 1990 and the “Griffith Bunch” was formed. Cary made sure there were no stepchildren in the household — just more kids for each other to love and raise. Cary treasured family adventures in their big blue conversion van, even stopping at the Little Brown Church for a family photo because “people came from all over the USA to take a picture there.”

Griff achieved many milestones, awards and accomplishments over the years. He compiled 387 wins as the head baseball coach from 1974 to 1998. In 2011, Cary retired from teaching and coaching after 42 years. His accolades continued in 2017 when he was given a 50-year service award for officiating. In 2018, the Iowa Girls Coaches Association inducted Cary into the Basketball Officials Hall of Fame. He was later inducted into the Iowa High School Officials Hall of Fame in 2020. This summer he will be posthumously honored by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association Softball Officials Hall of Fame.

Besides his career, Cary filled his life with kid’s activities. It didn’t matter what -— sports, music, drama, etc. — Cary was so proud of each of his children and their accomplishments. In time, he transitioned to watching his grandchildren’s activities, and that is where he found true joy. He continued following them until his health wouldn’t allow it, and even then kept up with scores and watched events online when he could.

Cary is survived by his wife, Kris and five children. Andie (Brad) Olson of Osage, Travis (Sheila) Griffith of Walker, Kimberly (Tim) Egli of Wayland, Aaron (Emily) Barnes of St. Paul, Minnesota, and John (Jan) Barnes of Lino Lakes, Minnesota; his 12 grandchildren, Drew and Rylie Olson, Cole Griffith, Ty, Tanner, and Taelyn Egli, Lucia, Oliver, Rowan, and Jonah Barnes, and Joelle and Jordan Barnes; and one brother, Leonard (Janean) Griffith of Omaha, Nebraska.

Cary was preceded in death by his parents, Betty and Willard Griffith; and one granddaughter, Maia Barnes.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Cary’s honor will be made to St. Croix Hospice and North Iowa Officials Association.

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