In his eulogy, Dr. Hruban recalled the founding group, of which Dr. Griffin was a member, that had assembled in the early 1990s to "battle pancreatic cancer" through the study of chromosomes, which led to seminal studies.
"Today, much of the genome cancer sequencing work that one hears about in the news is based on this early work," he said in the eulogy.
"But Connie's impact as a scientist was much broader than just pancreatic cancer. While I knew her as the pancreatic cancer expert, others knew her for her work in pediatric tumors, and others in her work in sarcomas," said Dr. Hruban.
He said that she had published more than 25 papers in the journal Genes, Chromosomes and Cancer.
Dr. Hruban said that Dr. Griffin played a major role in the cancer genetics counseling program at Hopkins.
"She had counseled families who had lost multiple family members to cancer and were worried about getting cancer themselves. This work required a deep knowledge of cancer genetics, combined with enormous empathy and caring," he said.
Dr. Hruban said that after Dr. Griffin was diagnosed with the same cancer her patients were fighting, she never mentioned her own struggle.
"And in the time between her diagnosis and death, she made a remarkable discovery," said Dr. Hruban. "She studied the sequences of small RNA molecules and found that changes in these molecules could cause familial cancer."
A month before her death, Dr. Griffin presented her discovery to the Goldman family, which financially supports the pancreatic cancer research center at Hopkins.
"Her face shined when she presented her discovery. Some of us knew of her diagnosis, but she never mentioned it," said Dr. Hruban. "What an act of bravery."
Dr. Griffin was an avid bird watcher and enjoyed doing crafts. She also liked to travel and attend concerts. She played the piano and hammered dulcimer.
Dr. Griffin was an active member of Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, where services were held Jan. 12.
Surviving are her husband of 35 years, Dr. Allan C. Spradling, director of the department of embryology at the Carnegie Institute of Washington and adjunct professor of molecular biology and genetics at Hopkins; two daughters, Emily Spradling of Towson and Katherine Spradling of Ruxton; a brother, Gregory Griffin of Brunswick, Ohio; and a sister, Paula Davis of Ithaca, N.Y.