Cover photo for Anne M. Griffith's Obituary
Anne M. Griffith Profile Photo

Anne M. Griffith

January 12, 1926- September 27, 2020

Anne M. Griffith, age 94, died Sunday, Sept 27, 2020. Five sons, two daughters, twelve grandchildren and one great grandchild all mourn her passing. With her husband, Stephen M. Griffith, an Army officer, she lived on 2 continents, raised 7 children, travelled the US and the world. Introduced in the summer of 1948, Anne and Steve courted by
correspondence. Her beautiful handwriting, with sentiments exquisitely expressed, captured his heart. In 1952 they arranged to meet in Paris and became engaged while walking the streets of Montmartre. They married later that year.

Anne graduated from Trinity College (Washington, DC) in 1948 and launched her professional career as a trade magazine editor in Chicago. Steve graduated the same year from West Point and embarked on his military career. After they married, Anne became an Army wife. Their devotion to their growing family was not surprising given that both were only children who had lost their fathers before age 10. Between various postings in the US and in Germany, Steve took yearlong assignments in Korea in the early 1960s and in Vietnam in the late 1960s. In both instances, Anne parented alone while her spouse served overseas. She was loving but tough. Her diminutive stature belied an inner reservoir of strength that she drew upon when circumstances demanded it. They forged a remarkable partnership; each supported the other and complemented each other beautifully. Steve Griffith’s death in 1986 was heartbreaking for her, but she persevered. She remained in her Alexandria, Virginia home, where she enjoyed the quiet, family-oriented community she was drawn to in 1964 when Steve was assigned to the Pentagon. She was on the vanguard of the “aging in place” movement. In this regard, she chose her home and community well. She resided there for 56 years.

Passionate about all things political, her day began with a thorough reading of domestic and world news. Her evening concluded with a survey of nightly TV news programs. Though now she was a widow in her early 60’s, she was certainly not ready to retire. She decided to take up the challenge of a full-time position in the White House to serve on the staff of First Lady administrations, serving in the Office of the Chief of Staff, as well as the National Security Council. After George H.W. Bush left office, she subsequently worked in the Office of Presidential Correspondence for George W. Bush, before finally retiring in 2008 at age 83.

Her later years in “retirement” were spent enjoying the fellowship provided by her husband’s classmates and spouses of the West Point Class of 1948, as well as a close-knit group of colleagues and their wives from the years her husband taught in the Social Sciences Department at West Point in the late 1950’s, and from the many friendships forged through her work at the White House and her life in Germany as an Army wife. She was especially proud of the roles she played in enhancing German-American relations and cultural understanding through her active membership in the SteubenSchurz-Gesellschaft e.V., and the International Women’s Club of Frankfurt e.V. Anne also maintained lifelong friendships with her Trinity College and Sacred Heart Convent (Chicago) classmates.

She loved social gatherings, especially the countless hours spent with family over the holidays, visiting her grandchildren, keeping in close touch with her far-flung friends and family in Germany and around the US. She often returned to places she had once lived, all the while kindling in her children and grandchildren an interest in their family history. Her most beloved
home was West Newbury, MA where she spent many happy summers of her childhood with her parents and extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles, picking blueberries, biking, horseback riding, swimming, watching thunderstorms from the porch, and reading way past bedtime by the light of a kerosene lamp. Throughout her life she also recalled fondly her growing up years in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago and the intriguing atmosphere of West Berlin, Germany, where she lived at the height of the Cold War.

Anne was quite devoted to two spiritual homes. The first was the historic Basilica of St. Mary in Old Town Alexandria, where she worshiped regularly and where most of her children attended the parish school. Second, as a Sacred Heart alumna, she was a devoted Child of Mary, regularly attending monthly daylong retreats at Stone Ridge School in Bethesda. The Child of Mary community there was always warm and welcoming to her. She enjoyed its loving fellowship until the very end.

Towards the end of her life, Anne called on her deep reserves of grit, resilience, optimism and a disarming sense of humor that had served her so well throughout her life. She fought like a warrior, but heart and mind could not conquer her physical weaknesses. She received remarkable care and benefited from the extraordinary compassion of the Walter Reed medical staff. Though her doctors were not optimistic about her ability to survive, she underwent dialysis numerous times. They expressed admiration for her determination to live, honored her end-of-life wishes,
and sought her input on care options to the very end. Despite the limitations of the COVID pandemic, at least one of her 7 children was always able to keep her company so that she was never alone, day or night. She passed away peacefully surrounded by several children and a grandson. We are certain she is now at peace in heaven reunited with all her friends and loved ones, who have gone before her.

Her children and grandchildren are ever grateful for the loving, patient, and gentle care provided to Anne by her son Beau Griffith. Anne also felt deep satisfaction from the way her children and grandchildren kept her company over the many years of her retirement.

Anne M. Griffith, daughter of Margaret Boughan McNamara and J. Burton McNamara, was born in Cambridge, MA. She died at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. Her parents and husband predeceased her. She is survived by her sons Stephen M. Griffith, Jr. (Jane), Joseph Griffith (Lora), Beau Griffith, Benjamin Griffith, and Mark Griffith (Tatjana), and her daughters Anne Hennessy (Peter) and Susan Giuliani (Mark). She leaves behind 12 grandchildren: Kay Griffith, Claire Griffith, Christian Griffith, Amy Griffith, Matthew Hennessy, Andrew Hennessy, Katherine Hennessy, Vivian Griffith, Sophia Griffith, Margot Giuliani, Maddy Giuliani, Joe Giuliani, and 1 great-grandson, James Griffith.

A Funeral Mass will be offered at 10:30AM on Friday, October 23, 2020 at the Basilica of St. Mary, 310 South Royal St, Alexandria, VA 22314. The Archdiocese of Arlington requires that family and friends follow social distancing protocols and wear masks during the service. Her interment at Arlington National Cemetery will take place at a later date.

Her Funeral Mass will also be live streamed and subsequently archived for later viewing. The Funeral Mass URL is /73532e05ad

Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Benedictine Monastery of Portsmouth Abbey, 285 Cory’s Lane, Portsmouth, RI 02871 or

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, October 22, 2020

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Cunningham Turch Funeral Home

811 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

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Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, October 23, 2020

10:30am - 11:30 pm (Eastern time)

Basilica of St. Mary Catholic Church

310 South Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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