Remembering the legacy of Mary Ann Griffin

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, April 13, 2022

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The Bainbridge community and The Post-Searchlight was saddened to hear of the death of Mary Ann Hill Griffin, 85, on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

Mary Ann was a trailblazer in the Bainbridge community and worked with her husband, Sam to publish The Post-Searchlight newspaper.

While the community will not be the same without Mary Ann, those who knew her can take comfort in knowing her legacy and contributions can be found all around Bainbridge.

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Mary Ann, along with Sam were well-regarded for their contributions to the historic preservation of Bainbridge landmarks. Mary Ann specifically was the Chairman of the renovation committee for the Decatur County Courthouse and was instrumental in preserving the Firehouse and Bon Air Hotel, working closely with the Georgia Trust for Historical Preservation.

“This is a great loss to this community,” Judge Wallace Cato said. “She (Mary Ann) made major contributions to the renovation of the Decatur County Courthouse. She supervised the renovation and was responsible for the direction the renovation took.”

Cato went on to say Mary Ann took not only her job as the renovation supervisor seriously, but anything she did for the community seriously.

However, those who knew her, knew Mary Ann took her jobs seriously long before her move to Bainbridge.

Sorority sister and friend, Carolyn Mauldin said when she joined Alpha Delta Pi at University of Georgia as a freshman, Mary Ann was president.

“She was a very smart, very capable woman,” Mauldin said. “When she and Sam got married, they were the perfect match in both their intellect and ability. She was always an equal partner to him.”

Former employee and Managing Editor Carol Heard couldn’t agree more.

“You always knew where you stood with Sam and Mary Ann,” she said. “If I screwed up, they would tell me and I would learn from that, but if I did something right, they also let me know. They were always fair and kind-hearted, which can be hard to find in today’s society.”

Their kind ways are what led to a close friendship with Dr. and Mrs. Todaro.

“We moved to Bainbridge in 1973 and that is when we met Sam and Mary Ann,” Lynda Todaro recalled. “They, along with a group of people, threw us a welcome dinner and welcomed us with open arms.”

Over the years, the two couples would go on to make amazing memories, traveling the world together, visiting the likes of Australia, Germany, Greece, France, Portugal, Spain and finishing their travels in Canada.

Mary Ann even left a lasting impression on two couples in Australia and Germany, who Lynda said she phoned to tell them of her passing.

“The biggest thing was the esteem and respect they had for Mary Ann,” Lynda said.

When not traveling, Mary Ann could be found working in the arts, rather that be saving the future home of the Firehouse Arts Center or drawing sketches.

Mary Ann graduated from UGA with a degree in oil painting and put her love for the arts to good use in the community.

Lynda said whenever she and her husband would get together with Mary Ann and Sam, Mary Ann would spend time drawing caricatures of her and Phil.

In addition to using arts as a hobby, Mary Ann and Lynda began a petition to save the Firehouse from being torn down and used as a parking lot. This petition would go on to save the Firehouse with it later becoming the Firehouse Arts Center.

Mary Ann, with Sam by her side, was also a driving force behind the Riverside Artsfest, which was an arts festival that highlighted a different state every year and showcased artwork and cultural artifacts from that state.

“She was involved in a little bit of everything,” Mauldin said. “We will always remember her on the Arts Council and her contributions.”

Lynda agreed, noting that it is very sad to lose a friend as close as Mary Ann, but she when she thinks back, she can’t imagine all the things she would’ve missed out on had she never known her.

Friends, family and the community will forever reap the benefit of knowing Mary Ann Griffin.

Services for Mary Ann will be on Thursday, April 14, 2022 at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the place she fought so hard to keep alive, the Firehouse Arts Center or the Bainbridge Little Theatre.