Community Remembers Victim of Fatal Bicycle Collision
Updated On: Jan 12 2014 03:53:00 PM AKST
Eldridge Lynn Griffith died Jan. 2 trying to cross Northern Lights Boulevard on a bike when he was hit by a sports utility vehicle.
Many gathered at a Kincaid Park conference center Sunday afternoon remembered the man as Griff or the somewhat more formal Mr. Griff.
"I think there would be a lot more angry people in the world if it hadn't been for Griff," said Chris Jensen, who years ago was among the kids at McLaughlin Youth Center.
The 65-year-old Griffith spent a career working as a counselor with at-risk youth, including the better part of 26 years at McLaughlin from 1976 to 2001.
Jensen said he never forgot the help and guidance Griffith offered him decades ago, and he also remembers that Griffith never tried to draw attention to his work.
"He wasn't one of those kind of guys that went, 'Oh here I am, I did some good things,'" Jensen said. "He just did good things, and he genuinely cared, just genuinely cared about his fellow human beings."
A woman who spoke at the memorial service said she was his mother-in-law and that Griffith made a quick impression.
"My first memory of him is that I didn't even meet him," she said.
She was visiting Alaska to meet Griffith, who was then dating her daughter, and he made a quick appearance: "All of a sudden, this guy comes whizzing buy on a bike, and (my daughter) says, 'There goes Griff.'
"He will be missed by everyone here."
Even coworkers who were counselors and psychologists in their own right could turn to Griff in moments of crisis.
"When I was having some problems, I might go over and dump my problems on Griff," said Hugh Fisher, a longtime coworker. "Other times he'd be telling me about his problems. Just like he'd do in the community, we'd share that."
Several people who never met Griffith attended the memorial and hosted a candlelight vigil outside at Kincaid.
"I live about half a mile from where the accident occurred, so as soon as it happened, I knew I wanted to be part of the memorial, as well as the effort at making Anchorage better for cyclists," said Lindsey Hajduk of Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage.
Hajduk said the key to make roads safer is to educate cyclists, drivers and pedestrians, and to increase bike lanes in high-traffic parts of Anchorage.
"It's all about making the roads safer for pedestrians, for cyclists, and really educating drivers as well," Hajduk said.
The investigation into the fatal collision is still open. Charges have not been filed against the driver of the sports utility vehicle involved in the incident.
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