Lester “Dale” Griffith, 1931-2021


Lester “Dale” Griffith, 90, passed away on Nov. 23, 2021. Dale was born on Nov. 13, 1931 to Lester and Oleta Griffith in Clyde.

He graduated from Rising Star High School in 1951. He joined the United States Air Force shortly after. He married Joyce Garrett on March 25, 1955 in Mustang, Okla. They were married for 66 years, 8 months.

They were blessed with four children, Weldon Dale Griffith and wife Glenda of Lohn, Michael David Griffith and wife Karen of Mineola, Terri Dawn Saldana and husband Karl of Clarksville, Tenn. and Robert “Bob” Don Griffith and wife Nicki.

They were blessed with nine grandchildren, Sara Saldana, Ashley Griffith, Lindsey Griffith (Justin), David Saldana (Emily), Garrett Griffith, Katy Saldana, Jamie Griffith, Ella Griffith and Ike Griffith. They have three great-grandchildren, Riley Blair, Ian Saldana, Jaxon Blair and one on the way.

Mr. Griffith is also survived by Betty Garrett, sister-in-law; Bill Myers, brother-in-law; and many nieces and nephews. Dale was preceded in death by his parents, half-brother, Tommy and son, Bob.

Dale began his career as an enlisted airman and became an officer and retired as a lieutenant colonel after 21 years of service. He was a navigator and pilot and flew many aircraft with the C-141 being the last plane. He flew many missions in the Vietnam War in the C-123.

He retired in 1972 and settled in Mineola, where he was a faithful member of the Church of Christ. He was a devoted fan of Mineola High School athletics and served as the announcer for Mineola football games for 17 years. Dale also was a supporter of the Mineola Hay Show.

Dale spent his final days at Hospice of East Texas. We are thankful for the wonderful care he received. A special thank you goes out to Dr. Becker and his dog, Maisie, for bringing comfort and kindness to the family, and to Dale, during this hard time. 

Donations may be made to Hospice of East Texas in memory of Lester Dale Griffith.