The former chairwoman of the Board of Griffin Communications passed away Tuesday morning.
Martha Griffin headed the company that owns News 9 from the time of her husband’s death until 1994. In addition to running the media company, Mrs. Griffin was an integral part of the civic and business communities in Oklahoma. She was honored with the Pioneer Woman’s award in 1989 and inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1992 . Her civic passions benefited the 5 Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee and the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
Mrs. Griffin—the daughter of pioneer Dr. Fred Watson—remained actively involved in her family’s ranch –The Watson Ranch--in Morris, Oklahoma until her death Tuesday morning. She is survived by two sons—John and David Griffin and their families.
Noted Oklahoman, rancher, philanthropist, and businesswoman, Martha Watson Griffin passed away the morning of October 20, 2015 in Muskogee. She was 80 years old.
Martha Louise Watson was born on February 18, 1935 in Okmulgee; the only daughter of Dr. Fred S. Watson and Gelene Nichols Watson and younger sister to Fred S. Watson, Jr. and David F. Watson.
After graduating from Okmulgee High School, Mrs. Griffin attended the University of Oklahoma where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and majored in sociology and history.
Martha married John T. Griffin of Muskogee on April 25, 1959 in Okmulgee. They enjoyed a happy and active marriage, including travel for business and exploring the world with friends until his death in 1985.
Soon after Mrs. Griffin became Chairwoman of the Board of the Griffin Companies, which included Griffin Food Company in Muskogee and KWTV-9 in Oklahoma City. Mrs. Griffin was an integral part of civic and business communities throughout Oklahoma. Martha was a member of the board of directors of Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E), the Arts Council of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City University Performing Arts Council, the University of Oklahoma Foundation, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Bacone College, and the Sequoyah Institute. She was also instrumental in the creation of the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee. On a national level she worked tirelessly to raise funds for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and the Republican National Committee.
For her dedication and leadership, Mrs. Griffin was recognized with the Pioneer Woman’s Award, a Governor’s Proclamation Award, the Women Who Make a Difference Award from the International Women’s Forum and the Director’s Choice Award from the National Women’s Economic Alliance. In 1992, Mrs. Griffin received one of the highest honors in the state when she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
In 1992, she married Alan White of Boston, Massachusetts and enjoyed sharing Oklahoma with Alan, traveling extensively and enjoying their home in Cape Cod. She continued to be actively involved in her family’s ranch, The Watson Ranch, in Morris, Oklahoma.
She is survived by her two sons and their families—John and Ashley Griffin of Tulsa and their children John F, Greer, JT, and Lillie; David and Kirsten Griffin of Oklahoma City and their children Grace, Jack, and David.
The family would like to thank Martha’s business director, Jackie Hayden, and her caregivers, Ada Gorske and Lois Hendricks. In lieu of flowers, donations in Martha’s honor may be made to the Martha Watson Griffin Fund at the Tulsa Community Foundation, which benefits the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee or to the Friends of the Mansion, which supports the Marland Mansion in Ponca City or a charity of choice.
Following a private interment at Memorial Park Cemetery, a public memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Muskogee. Funeral arrangement services are under the direction of Bradley Funeral Home.