John T. Griffin
John T. Griffin
“Although he grew up in the grocery business, he was equally at home in the radio or television business…when KWTV’s book showed KWTV in the number one slot in Oklahoma City…I believe that was one of John’s happiest days.”
Oklahoma native John Toole Griffin moved to Muskogee at the age of two and graduated from Muskogee’s Central High School before receiving his degree in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma. After serving in the Seventh Armed Artillery of the U.S. Army during World War II, he succeeded his father as president and chairman of the board of the family’s vast business, Griffin Grocery Company, in 1944. Griffin’s label of products produces and distributes not only the Griffin’s Waffle Syrup, perhaps the most famous, but also salad dressing, tea, spices, coconut, and canned goods. He had varied civic, community, and trade activities including serving on several hospital and university boards, the Oklahoma Heritage Association (now the Oklahoma Hall of Fame), and the Oklahoma Planning and Resources Board. Mr. Griffin was also chairman of the board of Griffin Television, Inc. His “employees first, company second” motto was the driving force behind his success with every venture. He was also a longtime supporter and founder of the Five Civilized Tribes Museum, which opened in 1966, and served as acting president of its board of directors until his death.
In 1944, John Griffin and James C. Leake partnered in buying their first airplane for $600, had it rebuilt, and embarked upon a lifelong hobby and profession of flying.
Griffin was born in McAlester, Oklahoma and raised in Muskogee.