Matthew J. Griffin, 64, of Des Plaines, IL, died on November 17, 2019 at Amita Health Alexian Brothers Hospice Residence in Elk Grove Village from lung cancer.
Matt was born on January 31, 1955 in Chicago. Matt was fun, funny, gracious, humble, curious, certain, direct, compassionate, a hard worker, a storyteller, and a team player. It’s possible that one person could be all these things. Matt’s life was proof. Honestly, you just had a good time with him because he made you feel as if you were the only person that mattered. When he talked to you (and his stories were long) there was nothing more important to do but listen and smile and laugh. And most times, you probably said, did that really happen? Yes, it did!
Matt loved his family – Marianne, his wife, and their children, Katherine and Jack. He lived for his family. They came first. They were the reason he got up (way early) each day to go to work. Matt was a member of the Chicago Pipe Fitters Union Local 597 since 1977. Matt was a Friend of Bill’s for 19 years. He made an intentional choice to live each day for others doing whatever they needed – fixing a clogged pipe in your kitchen or driving his favorite sister Kitty back home to Indiana and stopping at the candy store for chocolate stars.
And while Matt often shared his wisdom and tales of growing up in a big family with Katherine and Jack – he was equally giving to his nieces and nephews. He was at their Baptisms, First Communions, basketball and football games, barbecues, graduations, and weddings. He called them just to check up on them too. Matt had perfected the Griffin interrogation skill and thus probably knew more about his nieces and nephews than their parents.
Matt loved his friends – and he had many! When he met you the first time, within five minutes he had found a connection to you – he worked with your cousin, your aunt went to high school with his Mom, or you both had grown up in Oak Park. It was a little scary to meet someone who knew so many things about you so soon. Matt especially cherished his high school friends at Saint Viator – and not just because they bought his Mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies from him at lunchtime. He loved football and played all four years. His buddies on the team gave him the nickname “Hooks” – as his hands were huge. Matt and Marianne recently talked about his friends on the team whom he saw just a few times a year. He said, “I can talk to them like I see them all the time.” Matt’s closest friends were a group of guys from Winston Park who made him an honorary “Sea Pirate.” They stood with him to the end, which is a testament to their love, respect, and appreciation.
Matt loved his brothers and sisters. He was “Number 4” of 10 siblings that were the recipients of his unconditional love and laughter. He greeted you with a big hug and immediately asked, “How’s it going” and “What do you need?” He wanted to know about you. The ability to be that selfless is irreplaceable. Each sibling has a special Matt story that will carry us forward. He’s our hero.
We are lucky and blessed to have been a part of Matt’s life. He will continue to hold us in his hooks/hands. So, do something fun today. Do something for someone else without them knowing. That’s what Matt would want us to do.
Matt is survived by his wife, Marianne (nee Holmes), and their children, Katherine and Jack; his siblings: Sr. Mary Jane, OSF, William (Denise), Julie (Robert) Murphy, Joan (James) McCabe, Eileen “Tico” (John) Cosgriff, John (Linda), Patrick (Linda), and Kathryn; 20 nieces and nephews; and 23 grand nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents William D. Griffin, Jr. and Mary Jane Griffin, and his sister, Margaret Mary.
Visitation Thursday, December 5 from 4:00 to 9:00 PM at Cooney Funeral Home, 635 Busse Highway, Park Ridge, IL. A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, December 6 at 12:30 PM in St. Paul of the Cross Church, 320 South Washington Avenue, Park Ridge, IL. Interment will be private.
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