Margaret “Peg” Griffin, 79, passed away at her home in Washington D. C. on January 23, 2022. She will be remembered as a linguistics professor, global author, children’s reading researcher, and advocate for common sense gun laws, immigration reform, and many other social causes.
Peg was born in Fall River, Massachusetts to Irene (Murphy) and Thomas F. Griffin. She had 3 sisters, Eileen (Griffin) Albright (deceased), Patricia (Griffin) Cobery, and Helen (Griffin) Adams. She attended Mount Saint Mary’s Academy and Stonehill College. Fiercely independent, she left Massachusetts to teach language as a Peace Corps volunteer at a teachers’ college in the Philippines and never looked back. Pursuing her passion for education, she received her Ph.D in linguistics from Georgetown University and moved west where she conducted research and taught at the Center for Applied Linguistics, University of Southern California and the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, University of California at San Diego. While retaining her affiliation with UCSD, she dove into her life as an educator writing many books on education and teaching at a number of colleges and universities around the world, including Alabama State University, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Elon University, University of Sydney, and George Mason University.
She also worked on numerous research projects, including with the National Academy of Science and the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington D. C. Recognizing the value of education and reading to producing an educated global populace, Peg served as a consultant to help the Children’s Television Workshop introduce Sesame Street programming into Russia. She was deeply committed to the improvement of the lives of all children, especially those who because of poverty or linguistic background came to school less prepared than their mainstream peers. Education was her passion which she passed along to everyone she met through presents, games or quests for her nephews when they visited her. A number of her works have been translated for readers of Spanish, Russian, Italian, Japanese and Chinese.
Peg never fully retired as she spoke at many conferences and volunteered for many causes. For the past few elections, she canvased for a number of candidates that she supported, including President Barack Obama. A frequent visitor to Capital Hill to lobby for her causes, her energy and passion were boundless. She worked with local and national organizations to help change the world for the better. Her unique sense of humor, infectious laugh and love of baseball will always be remembered. Her influence and kind heart will be missed. She will be remembered and loved as someone who was always trying to make the world a better place. She leaves behind two sisters and brothers-in-law and a number of nieces and nephews, close friends and colleagues.
Spring and Fall
By Gerard Manley Hopkins
to a young child
Margaret, are you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s spríngs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
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