Bristol, VA – Bobby F. Griffin. a Bristol, Virginia icon passed away on Monday, February 20, 2023, after a lifetime of friendships, community activism, and successful business. He died at the age of 90. Bobby never met a stranger and will long be remembered for his generous spirit and his community service. Dr. Griffin was a leading businessman in Bristol for decades, but more importantly than that, he was a husband, father, and grandfather. The cause of death is yet to be determined.
Who was Bobby Griffin?
Bobby Griffin was born in Bristol, Virginia, in June 1932, and after graduating from the local public school system, he joined the military and was deployed to Korea. After suffering a wound in 1953, he eventually returned to Bristol and opened a Texaco station that his father had financed with the family house.
He established Bobby F. Griffin, Inc., a company where he created, popularized, and patented the idea of disposable paper car floor mats. After visiting Sarasota, Florida, and hearing a warning not to get sand in a car he was about to test drive, the firm was established in 1961. His development of disposable paper car floor mats was inspired by such an encounter. For his design, he was granted two patents, and the company is still in operation 60 years later.
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Bobby’s career didn’t end there; he also founded U-Store-It Warehouses and later served as the chairman of the board of Southeastern Magic Wand. He served on the boards of numerous institutions, including Tennessee Temple University, Bristol Haven of Rest, King College, and Gardner Webb College. He organized the annual Bristol Prayer Breakfast and was a very proud member of the Bristol Rotary Club.
He was a regular supporter of the Salvation Army, Haven of Rest, Boys & Girls Club, and other local organizations, but Griffin is likely best known for his long-time role in the Bristol Community Prayer Breakfast which he established with his friend Sid Oakley.
Neal Osborne, The Mayor of the City of Bristol Virginia released a statement following the death of Bobby Griffin on Monday;
I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Bobby Griffin.
Dr. Griffin was a shrewd businessman and did so much for so many people in Bristol for so many years. Even as recently as a couple months ago, he was advocating for our city and offering me advice on big issues and projects. I will truly miss his friendship and support, as will much of Bristol.Dr. Griffin was a leading businessman in Bristol for decades, but more importantly than that, he was a husband, father, and grandfather. Please keep his family in your prayers as they navigate this difficult time.