Weatherford Democrat

Top News

May 26, 2013

A time to remember

At the age of 90, former North Side Baptist Church’s Joe Ray Griffin finally retires, and looks back on service to his country and his God

(Continued)

The Fourth Division landed on Green Beach and took the airfield on June 19, 1944.

The Japanese had 22,702 Army troops and some 7000 “Imperial Marines” on Saipan to protect the island.

Pastor Joe and his friend, Dave McEwen, were wounded by rounds of rifle fire as they jumped into a self-dug foxhole late on the evening of June 27, 1944. One bullet grazed the lower part of Pastor Joe’s nose. He also took a direct hit to his right arm and shoulder, shattering his right arm. Forty years later, Pastor Joe went back to Saipan in February 1984 and found the place where he was shot and wounded in that foxhole.

On July 9, 1944, after 25 days of battle, Saipan was secured but with a cost of 5,981 American boys killed, wounded or missing. The Japanese had 23,811 known dead and 1,810 taken prisoner.

The Fourth Division went to Tinian and Iwo Jima and on to Japan, but a different battle faced Pastor Joe. He was flown to a Pearl Harbor hospital, where he spent three months being treated for wounds and a Gangrene infection. Then he spent three additional months at Oakland Bay Hospital. His last three months of hospitalization were in Corpus Christi before he was well enough to be discharged from the Marines. Recovery was long and slow but God strengthened him for the challenges still to come.

Back to Texas

After his long hospital stays, he returned to Austin, where he and Hazel Dean Lester were married on March 17, 1945, at Hyde Park Baptist Church. Pastor Joe says it was at Hyde Park where he found his master, the Lord Jesus Christ, his mate, Hazel Dean, and found his mission in life as God’s servant – a pastor.

Previously, Joe preached his first sermon on Nov. 23, 1942, at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin before serving in the Marines. Three years later he received his first pastorate at Bee Cave Baptist Church of Austin, where he served until 1948; Pastor Joe and Hazel Dean continued in their service to God at Elmont Baptist Church in Van Alstyne, 1948-52; Fairview Baptist Church in Sherman, 1952-55; First Baptist Church in Abernathy, 1955-61; and then served 20 years at Northside Baptist Church in Weatherford, 1961-1981.

Text Only
Top News
Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Poll

The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

Yes
No
Undecided
Don't care
     View Results