October 9, 1944 – May 6, 2019
Kaye Griffith (known to many as Kaye Artemis) passed away peacefully at home in Hyde Park, MA, on May 6th, at the age of 74.
A lifelong Texan, Kaye came to New England two years ago to be closer to her family. Born in Paris, TX, Kaye moved to Dallas as a child, graduating from Hillcrest High School and going on to attend Centenary College in Louisiana. She loved traveling across the country with friends and eventually moved to California, where she lived in San Francisco at the height of the 60s. She married Harry Griffith and they moved south to Redondo Beach, where she worked for the U.S. Postal Service for several years. After their divorce, Kaye returned to Dallas where she held a variety of jobs including activity director for a senior citizens center, housepainter, and even snow cone truck driver. In the early 90s she moved to Denton, Texas, where she opened up Happy Days/Starry Nights, a popular progressive bookstore and live music coffeehouse across the street from Texas Woman’s University.
Throughout her life, Kaye was a champion of the underdog. As a student, she participated in the lunch counter sit-ins and other civil rights protests, later she marched for the ERA and women’s rights, for LGBT rights, for the environment, and for peace. She served as vice president of the Dallas chapter of the National Organization for Women, was a delegate to state and national political conventions, helped refugees and others find safety and justice, and participated in countless social justice organizations and actions. In addition, she was a tireless volunteer, helping to produce hundreds of community concerts and dances, organizing massive public Easter egg hunts, and, like most activists of her time, stuffing untold numbers of envelopes.
In later years she became particularly interested in alleviating hunger, taking it upon herself to pick up leftover bread and produce from grocery stores and distributing it to families in low-income neighborhoods. She also volunteered in the food bank at Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Dallas, where she was an active parishioner.
In the mid-2000s, she moved in with her mother, Dorothy Jordan, to help her recover from lung cancer treatment, and she continued to serve as her caregiver until Dorothy’s death in 2016. A lifelong smoker herself Kaye had tried to quit many times without success. She developed COPD and emphysema and, in January of this year, was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer.
Kaye leaves behind two daughters who she loved with all her heart, Cecilia Prine and her husband Dean of Florida, and Diana Chaban Griffith and her wife Kim of Hyde Park, along with six grandchildren, Brian Waldrip, Brooke Norton, and Casey Prine, and Stuart, Matthew, and Andrew Chaban Griffith. She is also survived by her dear cousin Richard Skidmore and his partner Mark Pierce, longtime friend Rev. Ruth Rinehart, and many other relatives and friends. The family also wants to recognize the many caregivers who supported her in staying at home these last few months, and who meant so much in Kaye’s last days.
Visiting hours will be held Friday evening from 4-6:30 p.m., followed by a brief service at 6:30, at the Carroll-Thomas Funeral Home, 22 Oak St., Hyde Park. A separate celebration of Kaye’s life will be held later in the year, and internment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hyde Park Food Pantry at www.hydeparkfoodpantry.org.