Ron Griffith, R.I.P.

ron-griffith-loves-downtown-northfieldWord came yesterday that Ron Griffith, former Planning Commission member and co-founder of Just Food Co-op, died peacefully at home in the company of his family. Ron had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, March 28; the details will be determined later. Ron’s family is requesting that people donate to the Ron Griffith Young Leaders Fund (blogged here earlier) in lieu of flowers.

Councillor Betsey Buckheit paid tribute to Ron on her blog, and the notice in the Northfield News provides some brief biographical information about this wonderful man, whom I felt very fortunate to know. (continued)

An email from Ron’s wife, Beret, contained this poem by Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet:


On the day I die, when I’m being carried
toward the grave, don’t weep. Don’t say,

‘He’s gone! He’s gone.” Death has nothing
to do with going away. The sun sets and

the moon sets, but they’re not gone.
Death is a coming together. The tomb

looks like a prison, but it’s really
release from union. The human seed goes

down in the ground like a bucket into
the well where Joseph is. It grows and

comes up full of some unimagined beauty
Your mouth closes here and immediately

opens with a shout of joy there.

Ron, thank you for your service to this community, and for the impact that your life and character had on many of us. You will be greatly missed.


  1. Ross Currier said:

    Ron taught me a little about business and a lot about being a human being.

    I feel truly blessed; I worked with Ron on Just Food, I learned with Ron as a Blandin Leader, I served with Ron on the Planning Commission, and I appreciated life with Ron as a dear friend.

    I’m thinking he’s already implementing his carefully researched plans in the next great thing.

    March 13, 2009
  2. Lance Heisler said:

    I only met Ron one time, but I was instantly impressed with his intelligence, his character, and his unselfish committment to things he cared about. I was saddened by news of his death in a way not justified by the limited contact I had with him. I think it’s because, when it comes to consideration of what we can reasonably hope to accomplish on this earth, Ron was an example of the best we can do.

    March 13, 2009
  3. Tracy Davis said:

    Griff, thank you for taking the time to dig up these photos. I loved seeing Ron in action in the community.

    March 14, 2009
  4. Jane McWilliams said:

    Northfield seems to draw extraordinary people here to spend their retirement years. Beret and Ron exemplify this – as both have brought their many talents and skills to bear on our lives since moving to town.

    Ron’s years in Northfield have made an impression much larger than his relatively short time here might suggest. One public example is how he exerted his business smarts and his gently persuasive ideas in creating and sustaining the Just food Coop. There are many less public ways he made a difference, as people who know him can recall with admiration.

    Just importantly, Ron has been a friend – always interested in and respectful of the people he came to know. I believe this will be his enduing legacy.

    March 14, 2009
  5. Tracy Davis said:

    Here is Ron Griffith’s obituary on

    A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 28, 11:00 am at the United Methodist Church, 1401 South Maple Street, Northfield. Visitation will be held on Friday evening 4 – 7 pm in the church Reception Room and again 10:00 – 11:00 am before the service.

    March 14, 2009
  6. kiffi summa said:

    I wish that all of us investor’s in Just Food would get them to add a little piece in front of their name, changing it to “RON’S Just Food” . It never would have happened without him; the will was there, but Ron brought the business expertise to realize the reality.

    Can’t we change the name to “RON’S Just Food” ?

    March 14, 2009
  7. Alex Beeby said:

    Ron’s energy, commitment and enthusiasm inspired many of us. There were many people crucial to the openning of Just Food Co-op, but we likely wouldn’t have succeeded yet without the determination and skills of Ron and Beret. I posted some old photos on the Just Food site (I don’t know how to here).

    March 16, 2009
  8. Bill Ostrem said:

    I saw Ron in action through his work for the Planning Commission and Just Food, and I appreciated his ability to inspire people and to clarify complex issues. I was also fortunate to be a fellow member with Ron at the United Methodist Church of Northfield. Ron and Beret helped us to found a Creation Care Ministries team, or “green team,” in the last year. We were just getting started when we lost Ron. I will miss you, Ron.

    March 16, 2009

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