Arthur “Art” James William Griffa, died May 2. He was a former president of the Orange Board of Education who served on the NJSBA Board of Directors and also served as president and vice president of the Essex County School Boards Association.
Art was born on May 15, 1931 in Boston, Mass., the son of Arthur and Lydia Griffa. The next year the family moved to Louisville, Ky. and from there settled in Buffalo, N.Y.
He was a graduate of Hutchinson Central High School and Tennessee State University, where he majored in Physical Education. Art met his future wife, Barbara, whom he lovingly called Babs, in 1946 when he biked from Willert Park to Cold Springs (in Buffalo) to visit a friend. He encouraged her to join the junior radio group and she invited him to attend youth meetings at Our Savior Lutheran Church. This relationship culminated in marriage in 1957. From that union came two lovely daughters, Cynthia (Lori) and Andrea.
Art was an active member of the Michigan Avenue YMCA and upon graduation from TSU he pursued a career in the Y. His career took them to Los Angeles (the day after they married) where he was employed as a program director. In 1968 he moved back to Buffalo as executive director of the Michigan and Humboldt Branches and later the William-Emslie YMCA.
He served briefly as the interim executive director of the Buffalo YMCA before moving on to further his career as president of the Y in Jersey City, where he retired in 1990.
After retiring, Art continued his advocacy for children by becoming involved with the Orange Board of Education, beginning what became his second career. He volunteered on the facilities committee (eventual chair) then, once appointed to the board, represented Orange as part of state’s facility board and was an active member of the finance and personnel committees.
He also served on the NJSBA legislative and ethics committees and as an Association representative to the NJSIAA.
Art’s family legacy will continue through the foundation he built with his wife of 61 years, Barbara, his daughters Lori and Andrea, son-in-love Harold, precious grandchildren, Krystal, Natalie and Nathanael, sister-in-love, June Dennis, brother-in-love, Jac Harston and nephews, nieces and cousins. Services were held on May 8 at the Amigone Funeral Home, 1132 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. Condolences may be shared at www.amigone.com