Dennis Griffis

Griffis,_Dennis_Gerald10th Reunion
Dennis Griffis          Not Married
2015 James Rd,      Occupation: Customer Engineer
Apt, 274 Jacksonville, Florida
Since “CHS”
Completed service (U.S.A.F.). Worked for RCA’s Field Engineer and presently employed by IBM.

50th Reunion

A little history of my life before I graduate Columbia High School in 1960. Our Family moved to Lake City in 1955 from St. Petersburg, where I had attended Mirror Lake Jr. High.

I was a shy teenager, never a great student, never studied, never did any homework, except in study hall, and I remember only reading two books in high school. However, I do remember one semester, just for my satisfaction, making the A-B honor roll. I always loved taking things apart and putting them back together, (radios, TV’s, cars, etc.), however, I do not know why I always had extra parts left over, (must not have been need anyway).

May 1960, Graduation day; what career did I want for myself? My math teacher, Mr. Parker, convinced me to join the Naval Air Reserve in high school when I turned 17, and once a month I drove to NAS Jacksonville for our week-end meeting, where I got to fly as a crew member. I loved flying, and decided to go to the University of Florida, major in engineering, and become a pilot.

An opportunity came on graduation night to work in Lakeland on the I-4 construction projection from Tampa to Daytona, so at the winter term I could start at Florida in their Civil Engineer program. Worked in Lakeland from June through November tromping through the swamps and orange groves surveying and other construction project on I-4 (should have bought some available property close to Kissimmee but who knew then Disney World would be there later?).

Still I had my monthiy obligations to the Navy, so I would catch a flight courtesy of the Navy, and fly from Tampa to Jacksonville for my monthly weekend meeting. I loved flying but found out later, when at sea I would become sea sick, and that sea life was not for me.

In January 1961, after passing the entrance exams, I started my freshman year at the University of Florida. However, I had failed to notify the Navy of my intentions and later received a letter informing me to report for active duty. However, while attending Florida I was able to get a deferment from the Navy for the rest of the school year and would have to report for active duty later at the beginning of year 1962.

I enjoyed my year at UF and liked electrical engineering more than civil engineering, but time was cut short at Florida. However, at the end of my one year at Florida, as much as I like to fly, I decided to join the US Air Force instead of going into the Navy.

On joining the Air Force I spent the rest of the year becoming an electronic technician and upon graduation was sent to Europe for the next three years. While in Europe I completed my second year of college and receive an AA degree in Electronic Engineering.

While in Europe for three years I got hooked on snow skiing, and car racing. I never got hurt, thank god, until I was ready to come back to the US. While we were taking our sport cars to be shipped from Holland to New York I was in an auto accident, demolished my car and spent the next 4 months in various hospitals before full recovery.

Decision time March 1966! Did I want to make the Air Force a career, stay in the Air Force another sixteen years or get out? Let’s see, I could stay in the Air Force for $180/mo and a reenlistment bonus of $4.500 or become a Field Engineer for RCA in Alaska doing the same thing for $2,500/mo all expenses paid. (Alaska has some great ski areas don’t they?). I decided for my county sake that working on the Radar System in Alaska was the thing to do, right. Hello Alaska. Going to Alaska was like going back in time almost like being in the old west and the skiing was terrific.

Thanks to the Air force, I got my degree, got to see Europe and enjoy many different cultures, people, and great ski areas. Also, enjoyed the same for Alaska. However, in Alaska I never could adjust to the six months of darkness and the six months of daylight. While in Alaska I did attended a midnight sun party in June, a traditional great feast and party heid at midnight in Fairbanks, when the sun never goes down.

Returned to Jacksonville and worked for various computer companies (IBM, Raytheon, Denelcor, Cable Data, and Harris). Mid life crisis! Decided to change career field in 1974, went back to college for BS degree in Business administration, with major in Accounting. I Married Linda while we worked at the same Manufacturing Company, and while working finished college. Then after 14 years of marriage we had our only son Matthew. Matt, is now 20 years old, married, and starting his own family.

After working at various accounting positions, over many years. I retire from the State of Florida after 17 years as a tax auditor in December 2008. Also, I started my own accounting and tax business in Jacksonville. (Argyle Accounting Systems) in 2009.

Fifty years have gone buy and it only seems like yesterday our class was walking down to receive our high school diploma from Columbia High School.

Now 50 years after high school, I hope and pray my son will have the same opportunity and blessing I have had, of serving God and country, having a blessed marriage for the last 35 years, of friends, family, and a fantastic business career of doing what I enjoy doing.

Now begins a new chapter as I expect to be a Grandfather in June 2010.

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