James D. Griffin, who built a house in Montauk in 1984, died last Thursday at Southampton Hospital. He suffered a fatal heart attack after a morning of fishing while heading back into Montauk Harbor, his family said.
Mr. Griffin was a dedicated fisherman who docked his boat Next Move, a 28-foot BHM, at the Montauk Marine Basin. “He loved being out on the water,” said his daughter Cara Griffin of Astoria, Queens. “He enjoyed teaching his grandchildren to fish, too. In the wintertime he did a lot of crossword puzzles, biding his time until he could get his boat back in the water,” she said.
“His family takes some comfort in knowing that he left this earth while out on his boat on the water in the place he loved so much, Montauk,” his daughter wrote. She thanked the Coast Guard, the Montauk Fire Department, the East Hampton police, Southampton Hospital staff, “his fishing buddy Artie, and everyone else who made an effort to save him on the morning of his death.”
Mr. Griffin first visited Montauk as a child when his father brought him out from White Plains, N.Y., to fish. Later, when he had a family, he kept a boat in Westchester and used to drive it out with them, docking at Snug Harbor Marina.
He and his wife of 46 years, Roberta Griffin, a nurse at the Southampton Hospital emergency room, moved to their Agnew Avenue house in Montauk full time in 2002. They had sold their house in Armonk in 1997, and lived for a time in Valhalla, N.Y., before moving to Montauk.
He was born on March 4, 1947, in White Plains, to John A. Griffin and the former Helen Sheehan. He graduated from White Plains High School in 1965. When his father died in 1970, he took over the family business, John A. Griffin Sons Moving Company, and ran it until 2002. “He was never one to sit behind a desk,” his daughter said.
Mr. Griffin traveled with his wife in retirement, and liked to read mystery books. Mainly he was always down by the docks or fishing for fluke or striped bass with friends, his daughter said.
In addition to his wife and daughter Cara, he is survived by another daughter, Julie Gomes of Warwick, R.I., and a son, James Griffin Jr. of Forest Hills. He also leaves four grandchildren, a brother, John Griffin of Florida, and a sister, Geraldine Griffin of Washington State.
A wake will be held at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton tomorrow from 6 to 8 p.m. A Mass will be said at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk on Saturday at 11 a.m. He will be cremated.
His family suggested memorial contributions to the Montauk Food Pantry at St. Therese, 50 South Dorset Drive, Montauk 11954.