James M. Griffin,
disbursing agent of the Bureau, retired October 31, 1938, upon
his own request, after over 42 years of service, having been
appointed July 1, 1896, when the Bureau was a branch of the
Treasury Department. His father at one time held this same position.
He joined the Bureau staff when William W. Duffield was its
head, serving also under Henry S. Pritchett, O. H. Tittmann,
E. Lester Jones, R. S. Patton, and the present Director.
Leo Otis Colbert. He spent one season on Coast Pilot field work
and was a clerk in the Engraving Division and the Division of
Hydrography and Topography before becoming disbursing agent
on March 7, 1913, which position he held until his voluntary
retirement. As disbursing agent, passing on the accounts of
all field parties, he was in direct contact with all the ramifications
of the Service and its personnel.
His consistent friendliness and never-failing tact and resourcefulness
in handling difficult fiscal problems are matched only by the
esteem and affection in which he is held, according to the Director,
who presented him, on behalf of the personnel, with a leather-covered
hand-tooled brochure, containing the signatures of members of
the Washington staff and those on duty throughout the United
States and its possessions.
The brochure is illustrated with a series of sketches in water
colors, drawn by Bureau artists, depicting amusing incidents
that have occurred during his tenure of office. Mr. Griffin
was also surprised with a radio which had been installed in
C&GS BULLETIN, 10/31/1938
Once again it becomes our sad duty to report
the death of our beloved fellow workers. Last Thursday, Sept.
3, 1942, at Doctors’ Hospital, James Madison Griffin passed
to the great beyond and the Coast Survey lost one of its most
“Sunny Jim,” as we of the Buzzard
liked to think of and call him, was born in Atlanta, Ga. Before
entering the Survey in 1896 as a temporary recorder in the field,
he had been employed in commercial fields and railroading.
In 1897 he came to the office in a clerical
capacity and in 1913 became Disbursing Agent, Chief of the Division
of Accounts, a position which his father before him had held,
remaining there until his retirement in 1938 with a service
record of 42 years.
During the Spanish-American War he was detailed
to the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury, in charge
of collecting deferred payments on bonds, and returned to our
Office on the completion of his duties at the Treasury.
During his long and faithful service Jim endeared
himself to all who came in contact with him by his ever trying
to make life brighter and lighter for his fellows.
He will long be remembered as the man who never
took off his hat. This custom was the cause of many good-natured
jibes which he invariably took in the spirit in which it was
given and usually came out best in any discussion about it.
His charities were many and a great many employees
have been the recipient of Jim’s help. It is said that
he was always looked upon as the Field Officer’s best
friend for his unfailing assistances to them with the task,
so much disliked by many officers, of their accounts.
His wife survives him and all of his friends
extend to her their heartfelt sympathy.
The funeral took place on Saturday, Sept. 5th,
from the Gawler Funeral Parlors and interment was in Cedar Hill
Cemetery with Masonic honors.
He was a 32nd Degree Mason, a member of the
Anchor Club, and the Arlington Wheelmen, Washington’s
oldest bicycle club.
“The Buzzard,” Vol. IX, No. 37, p. 2. September