Throughout the summer months Christine (Chris) Griffin would pick what was blooming in her garden and take a delightful arrangement to wherever she was going, be it an office appointment, coffee shop or retailer, or a friend’s home. Chris was strategic about colors and bloom sequence, so a well-balanced bouquet was always ready at her fingertips. Chris didn’t limit her love of gardening to her home in West Groton but shared her skills with countless friends and neighbors whom, along with her ideas and advice, would get clumps of perennials she had dug from her garden to be planted in theirs.
Chris loved getting to know people and was gifted at conversation. Her creative instincts and eye for color and texture were perpetually in motion and seamlessly combined with her generous heart. She shared her talents — from elaborate handcrafts, stuffed animals, and blankets to precision paint and design choices — with many, and today they adorn many local homes.
Born May 22, 1952 in Hartford, CT, Chris moved to Ithaca, New York in 1978 to attend Cornell University. A member of the class of 1982, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the College of Human Ecology. Chris was a certified gemologist and worked at jewelers in Hartford and for many years at Patten’s Jewelry in Ithaca. Chris managed Center Ithaca until the property was sold in the mid-1990s, and subsequently held positions at the Women’s Community Building and at the Johnson Art Museum. She was a founding member of the Friends of the Groton Public Library and in 2015 she initiated, built and installed two Little Free Libraries, one on Main Street in the village and the other at the Groton Elementary School. From January 2010 through 2015, Chris was a Trustee of the Finger Lakes Library System, serving as President for three years and Secretary for one year. During her time as FLLS President, Chris was instrumental on securing the move of FLLS from downtown offices to their current building at 1300 Dryden Road, Ithaca.
Chris died peacefully on March 28, 2023, at the Hospicare residence in Ithaca. Even after being diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer in late 2016, Chris continued her active life. Brain metastases that periodically appeared were treated with Gamma Knife at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. Recently, these became more significant, and the benefits of her long-time treatments began to wane.
Chris was predeceased by her parents, Henry T. and Betsy J. Griffin. She is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 25 years, Ted Schiele of West Groton, NY., and her beloved son Benjamin Griffin Weeks of Killeen, TX. Also surviving are her siblings Beth D. Griffin, Timothy C. Griffin, and Jean G. Harvey (Brian) as well as nieces Samantha H. Porter (Paul), Betsy E. Harvey, nephew Jack G. Harvey (Krystal), and her granddaughter Kira Taylor. She also leaves her aunt and many cousins in the Griffin, Moore, and Winslow families.
Chris is also survived by her mother-in-law Edith B. Schiele along with many brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews of the Schiele family.
Chris’s adventurous spirit and zest for life was fueled by great coffee and fortified by many dear friends and her resident Brittanys. With deep appreciation and thankfulness, her family recognizes the nurses and aides at the Hospicare residence in Ithaca, and the medical and support staff of Cayuga Cancer Center Radiation Oncology, and of Cayuga Hematology and Oncology Associates. A celebration of Chris’s life will be held later this spring. Contributions in Chris’s name may be made to Hospicare & Palliative Care Services of Tompkins and Cortland Counties, 172 E. King Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850 or hospicare.org; to the Friends of the Groton Public Library, 112 E. Cortland St., Groton, NY 13073 or by clicking this link; and to the Finger Lakes Library System, 1300 Dryden Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850 or by clicking this link.