By Joe Garvey

John M. Griffith was passionate about mentoring his finance students in Old Dominion University's Strome College of Business.

"There has been no greater advocate for the quality of the education of our students, preparing them to meet the expectations of their future employers," said Bruce Rubin, associate professor and chair of the finance department. "As a former Lehman Brothers executive, he understood the skills graduates need to be successful and was emphatic on imparting these to them."

Griffith was honored by the Strome College for his advising in 2007. But he began winning teaching awards in 1993, while he was a doctoral student at the University of Alabama, and he was recognized several times at Strome for his teaching. In 2012, he was named University Professor.

"John served the department, college and ODU in many roles, including as department chair," Strome Dean Jeff Tanner said of Griffith, who died on June 19 at 68 due to complications from surgery. "He was a strong advocate for his faculty and staff, finding many ways to go above and beyond. In the last few years, his research focused on such things as emotions in investing and takeovers.

"But it was his teaching, advising, and mentoring students that drove him. He leaves a strong legacy among our alumni, faculty and staff, and will be sorely missed by all who knew him."

Griffith came to ODU in 1999 and served as a professor until his death.

According to his obituary, he was passionate about pastimes ranging from golf and marathon running to fishing and scuba diving. He was an avid dog lover and volunteered with rescue organizations as well as the soup kitchen in his Norfolk neighborhood.

Griffith, a Louisiana native, attended the University of Arkansas, where he served as president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a degree in economics, followed by a career as a banker and a stockbroker in Baton Rouge. After earning his doctorate from Alabama in 1995, he taught at the University of West Florida and University of Minnesota Duluth before coming to Norfolk.

Griffith is survived by his wife, Linda Griffith (nee Harris); his daughter, Sarah Griffith Bonham (Matthew) of Marietta, Georgia; his stepdaughter, Macie Ritter; and his grandchildren, Preston, George and Camille Bonham. He is predeceased by his parents, Reginald and Elizabeth Griffith.

A private memorial will be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers, you can make donations to the Kerry Blue Foundation ( and The Nature Conservancy (

To plant trees in his memory, visit the Sympathy Store.

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