Cora Lee Griffin, 79, passed away in her sleep on January 4, 2019. Cora Lee was a life-long resident of Humboldt County, born in Scotia on August 2, 1939 to Vernon and Georgia Hackett. Cora Lee was the second of three daughters.
Cora Lee grew up on the family ranch in Ferndale on Howe Creek Road, her fondest place where she always felt at home, referring to it as “The Home Place”. Despite losing her hearing to the measles when she was seven, Cora Lee graduated from Ferndale Union High School in 1958. While in high school, she met the love of her life, John Griffin. They were married on July 1, 1959 and were married for over 53 years until John’s passing.
John and Cora Lee spent their first nine years of marriage living on Howe Creek in one of the family homes, until they moved to Eureka in 1968 when John was hired as zookeeper at Sequoia Park Zoo. Cora Lee took great pride as a homemaker and would also frequently provide childcare for other families. Those who knew Cora Lee knew of her deep love for children and family. Unable to have kids of their own, John and Cora Lee were excited to travel to San Francisco and adopt their son, Dennis, in 1975. They were so happy to have a child of their own.
Cora Lee was an avid gardener, and worked part-time for years at Nor-Cal Nursery in addition to being a mother and homemaker. She especially loved flowers and was a member of the Orchid Society for many years. Her garden was always lush with beautiful flowers wherever she called home. She was very active as a mother, frequently spotted in Dennis’ classroom or on one of his field trips.
Cora Lee was also famous for her canning prowess, taking home first place ribbons in both the Humboldt County and Redwood Acres Fairs for close to two decades. She was always making dill pickles, applesauce, jams and jellies. She also made quite the apple pie.
Dennis married his wife, Shelly, in 1995 and before long, Cora Lee had four granddaughters to dote over. When John retired in 1997, they moved back to “the Home Place” on Howe Creek. John and Cora Lee spent the next 15 years spoiling their granddaughters and providing them with many wonderful memories they still treasure today. Cora Lee would jump at any chance to watch the girls, at peace at home with children around to help her feed the deer and chase off the cows.
Shortly after John’s passing in December 2012, Cora Lee was in a car accident and fractured her spine. After a year of rehab at Timber Ridge, Cora Lee was able to live on her own in Eureka, renting a little house near the high school where her granddaughters could bring their friends for lunch. In 2015, she was hospitalized and entered skilled nursing from there. While her body was failing her, she still was brightened by her family and was so happy to welcome a great-grandson to the world in 2016. She always made sure to have a picture of him by her side to show off to her nurses and visitors. This past October, she was thrilled to be able to attend her 60th high school reunion in Ferndale.
Cora Lee was preceded in death by her husband John; her parents Vernon and Georgia; and her sister Emilee Ann. She is survived by her son Dennis and daughter-in-law Shelly; her granddaughters Kiera (and husband Craig), Marin, Avery and Lilly; and her great-grandson Nathan. She is also survived by her sister, Donna Feddersen; three nieces Tammy Miller (and Keith), Lorie Gomes (and John), and Julie Loudon (and Darren) and all of their children; cousin Charlotte Michels; and numerous other relatives.
Friends and family are invited to a Celebration of Life in honor of Cora Lee on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 2 p.m. at her sister’s house, located at 3595 Trinity Street in Fortuna, CA.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Cora Lee Griffin’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.