Norwood G. Griffin, a World War II veteran who later opened a Liberty Road service station, died Feb. 22 from pneumonia at Northwest Hospital. The Randallstown resident was 95.
Norwood Glenn Griffin, son of Norman Griffin, a farmer, and his wife, Nina Griffin, a nurse, was born in Parkton and raised on the family farm there. He attended Baltimore County public schools until dropping out to work on his family’s farm.
He was 18 when he enlisted in the Army in 1943 and served with an infantry unit. He fought in the Rome-Arno campaign, the Rhineland offensive, and the campaign for Central Europe.
For a brief time, he was held by the Germans as a prisoner of war, until he and several fellow soldiers escaped and rejoined the U.S. Army. “One of the soldiers who knew German heard them say they were going to be taken out and shot, and that’s when they made their escape,” said a son, Stanley Griffin of Randallstown.
He was discharged from the Army with the rank of private in 1946 and married the former Gladys Eisner that same year.
In 1954, he opened Griffin’s Crown Service Station, a gas station and automotive repair business, on Liberty Road in Randallstown. The business, which is still family-owned and operated, is located at Liberty Road and Brenbrook Drive. It is now known as Griffin’s Service Center, and earlier had operated as Griffin’s Arco and Griffin’s Shell.
Mr. Griffin was a fan of both driving and racing, and his love of travel took him on road trips to the “farthest reaches of the United States, from the cold mountains of Alaska, to the sunny shores of Florida,” family members said.
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In addition to his son, Mr. Griffin is survived by two other sons, Douglas Griffin of Parkville and Gary Griffin of Sykesville; a daughter, Rita Clarke of Millsboro, Delaware; two sisters, Nancy McDermott of Howard County and Nelda Prather of Hagerstown; nine grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and longtime friend and companion Louise Spedden of Randallstown.