Remembering the legacy of Lynda Griffin: the songbird of Bay County

Bay County

BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — Some people leave a lasting impact on our lives. For many in Bay County that person was Lynda Griffin.

Just over a year ago Griffin lost her life to COVID-19 but not before sharing her talent, wisdom and love.

Those who knew Griffin say she was one of a kind. They say she was selfless and a woman of faith. She was a christan woman, a prayer warrior. Her friend Beverly Waddell said she always put others before herself. 

“It doesn’t matter who you were she loved you, doesn’t matter who you were she was kind to you,” Waddell said. 

Griffin’s loved ones say she dedicated her life to the Bay County community. 

Sharon Shefflid, Griffin’s cousin, said she loved helping people in need 

“If a child needed a pair of shoes she would go and buy them for them,” Sheffield said. 

Leon Miller taught Griffin in 7th and 8th grade. He watched her grow up and said she loved putting a smile on someone’s face. 

“Lynda was a person that had a personality that she wanted to spread joy in the entire community,” Miller said. 

Later in Griffin’s life, her friend Robert Waddell said she started making cards for her friends, people who were ill or just needed some uplifting. 

“If there was a birthday if there was a holiday Lynda would do cards on her own without anyone paying for it,” Waddell said. “That’s the kind of person she was.”

Her friend Valerie Mincey said she remembers the day she got a card from Griffin in her time of need. 

“There were times when I was going through things and I’d go home and in the mail, there’s a card from Lynda,” Mincey said.

Griffin brought people together through her role in the alumni association for Rosenwald High School, her work with local charities and her time in church.

She was invaluable both personally and professionally. 

But what she was mostly known as the songbird of Bay County. Those who heard her sing described her voice as angelic, melodious and rare. 

Griffin began singing when she was young. She performed as a “Singing Commodore” at Gulf Coast State College.

Then later at events for The City of Lynn Haven, The City of Panama City, nursing homes and much more. 

Vickie Gainer is the City Manager of Lynn Haven and a friend to lynda. She said people would come to city events and just be in awe of Griffin’s voice. 

“A lot of times when we were planning events the first thing we would say is okay first we have to see if Lynda is available and if Lynda is not available then who is our second choice,” Gainer said.

Griffin’s voice was a gift. People say she was captivating, personal and she felt every word that came out of her mouth. 

Her friend Joyce Smith said she didn’t sing for fame or recognition. 

“It wasn’t about money, wealth or whatever if helping someone she was rich because of that,” Smith said. 

On August 5, 2020 the COVID-19 virus took Griffin’s life. Her sudden death shocked everyone who loved her.

Jeff Ccalf the Lead Pastor at St. Andrews Assembly of God it was hard for many people at the church.

“Our hearts were just broken and grieved because man she left a big big hole in the lives of a lot of people,” Scarf said. 

Her friends say we lost a pillar of the community. 

Griffin had a strong spirit throughout her life. 

Randolph Philips said after everything she did to give back to the community many realized this was the time to return that service to the songbird.  

 “I knew that Lynda knew enough people in Bay County to support a scholarship,” Phillips said. “I knew what it would take to endow one and we decided to go ahead and get it done and we did.”

It’s called “The Lynda Griffin Memorial Scholarship.”

It will be awarded each year to a singing commodore who shares Griffin’s gift of music. Janice Lucas the Executive Director of the LEAD Coalition and friend of Griffin said this is a perfect way to honor Griffin’s life. 

“The scholarship embodies Lynda Griffin, it gives,” Lucas said. “It helps someone to achieve something.”

The college just named the first recipient of the award. Her name is Jennifer Carinhas.

Through this scholarship Griffin’s legacy will live on.

A legacy of love, generosity and faith. 

With a hope that future generations will learn who Lynda Griffin is. 

“People who don’t know her with this scholarship they would get to know about her and I think that is important,” Waddell said. 

Griffin left a mark on many lives through her angel voice, lessons and friendship. Griffin’s godchild Trina Hill said she will never forget her. 

“You don’t find it often and when you do you want to cherish it,” Hill said.

Those who love her want to tell her that they miss her, they thank her, and will strive to live like her so one day they will see her again. 

September 26 is Lynda Griffin’s birthday. She would have been 73 years old. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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