Paul Jerome Griffith
November 13, 1957 – April 29, 2010
Paul Jerome Griffith was born on November 13, 1957 at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital to Dr. Jerome and Barbara Griffith. He passed away at Cottage Hospital on April 29, 2010 after a courageous and inspiring battle with cancer. He was surrounded by family, and during his last hours was able to express his love, gratitude, and desire for us all to take care of each other.
Paul graduated from San Marcos High School in 1975 and from UCSB in 1980 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked for General Dynamics and Pacific Armatechnica before joining the Santa Barbara Electric Bus Project in 1993. He helped the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) prepare plans for expanding its uniquely successful electric shuttle buses to other routes. He designed data collection hardware for electric bus performance and published the “Four Year Report on Electric Bus Operations in Santa Barbara”. He co-founded the Santa Barbara Electric Transportation Institute, which was sponsored by state and federal government agencies and power utilities to promote the understanding and expansion of electric bus use worldwide. Paul managed the design, construction and demonstration of the Stingray, a full size electric bus that climbed the steepest bus routes in San Francisco, operating for over 10 hours between recharges. He provided consultation and assistance to many municipal, state, and national governments to initiate electric bus services.
Paul was called a Renaissance Man by many who knew him – well educated, with many interests, who excelled in a wide variety of subjects. He craved and embraced knowledge, and developed his abilities as fully as possible. One of his many hobbies was his vineyard. His first label said, in part, “200 vines were planted in the summer of 2003. For the next 2 years they were farmed with equal parts benign neglect and gopher exuberance. Against all odds, the vines thrived and yielded their first crop in 2005. There are no government warnings or bar codes-it is too precious for anything but sharing with friends.”
Paul shared the last two years of his triumphs and setbacks publicly on an internet blog. He had many readers who appreciated his honesty, hope, humor, and inspiration as he confronted this insidious disease. He wrote, “The universe manifests order and reason that far exceeds my capacity to understand. Like all things, I am interwoven into that beautiful tapestry for all eternity. If I am meant to overcome this challenge, then I most certainly shall. If not, then I will learn what I can from it and take that knowledge into the next adventure. Either way, I win.”
In addition to his parents, he is survived by son Taylor Sohns Griffith; fiance Cecily Daniel; sisters Jan Del Carlo, Karen Griffith, and Tracey Nutter; niece Karin Del Carlo and brother-in-law Ray Del Carlo. A memorial tribute will be held May 23, 2010.
In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund has been set up for Taylor at Santa Barbara Bank and Trust.