Thomas More Griffin of Wainscott and Manhattan died of cardiac arrest on July 22, a week after suffering a serious fall at home. He was 66.
“Tom had many gifts. Down to earth and extremely friendly, he had a disarming wit,” said Virginia Edwards of Wainscott, Mr. Griffin’s wife. “He could easily connect with people, put them at ease — and he was a good listener. Be it a cab driver in a distant corner of the world or the chairman of the board, Tom was genuinely curious about what others had to say.”
Born in Buffalo on May 16, 1957, to Richard and Jane Griffin, Mr. Griffin graduated in 1975 from the Calasanctius Preparatory School there, and from Georgetown University, magna cum laude, in 1979, with a major in English and philosophy and a nomination for a Rhodes Scholarship. He went on to Georgetown Law School, where he was an editor of the law review, and earned his juris doctor degree in 1984.
After law school he moved to New York City, where he would live for the rest of his life. He was a corporate attorney, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, at several prominent law firms. “He was a real counsellor, helping to bring people together, connecting startups to funding opportunities, going above and beyond the call of duty. He was more than simply a transactional attorney,” Ms. Edwards said.
The couple had met through a mutual friend in 1991. That summer, they rented a small cottage on Georgica Pond in Wainscott. From then on, they always had a home in the hamlet. In 1995, they married at St. Luke’s Church in East Hampton.
“Six-foot-two, handsome, with big blue eyes, Tom was athletic and elegant, with great personal style,” said his wife.
He loved nothing more, she said, than spending time with his daughter, Sophie Griffin, 22, who attended the Ross School and graduated from Wesleyan University in May.
“Sophie adored her father. They would get in his car and go drive to Montauk for an adventure, or hit a bucket of balls at Poxabogue,” Ms. Edwards said. “When she went to school in Manhattan, every Friday he would take her out for pancakes and walk her to school. He was absolutely devoted to her.”
Mr. Griffin was also passionate about Porsche 911s and rock-and-roll music. On weekends, he and his daughter could often be found in the driveway, carefully washing and waxing his car. He had encyclopedic knowledge of rock music and a vinyl collection to rival any D.J.’s.
Despite his many gifts, the family said, Mr. Griffin struggled with significant mental health issues. “Throughout these challenging periods, he was brave and retained his sense of humor. He never stopped connecting with others, from his family to the members of his community.”
In retirement, Mr. Griffin was an active volunteer at the Central Park Conservancy. He walked miles in the park every day, and was always eager to point out a project his group had worked on.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Griffin is survived by his mother, Jane Griffin, of Buffalo; a brother, Richard Griffin Jr. of Washington, D.C., and two sisters, Mary Griffin, also of Washington, and Anne Griffin of Edinburgh. His father, Richard Griffin Sr., and a brother, Charles Griffin, died before him.
Memorial donations have been suggested to the Central Park Conservancy, 717 Fifth Avenue, New York 10022. A service was held in Buffalo on Saturday. A celebration of Mr. Griffin’s life is planned for the evening of Friday, Sept. 29, at his New York City apartment. Ms. Edwards can be contacted at [email protected] for the details.