Longtime county activist dies at 68
Brian Griffin, a longtime Lee County environmental, government and growth management activist, died on Thanksgiving at Hope Hospice in Cape Coral.
Griffin, 68, was a retired hockey referee and coach. He was an Army engineer and coached hockey at the Coast Guard Academy. He was a deputy sheriff and later in life an insurance inspector.
Griffin was a resident of the tiny Pine Island town of Matlacha. He often identified himself as “of the Duchy of Matlacha” when he poked and prodded county commissioners toward his way of thinking.
He was part of a duo that sued the county in 1992 over the adoption of the county charter. A charter opponent, he found an advertising mistake by the county that set aside the initial election results and forced a revote.
He fought against a special tax for the Lee Memorial trauma center, then helped create a Trauma Advisory Committee. He later served on two charter review committees, on the county Smart Growth committee and on various other boards.
Griffin and his wife, Kathy Malone, were the driving force behind the Council of Civic Associations, an umbrella group that looked to coordinate the efforts of several Southwest Florida civic groups. The group helped advocate for the Lee County Conservation 20/20 tax.
Malone, Griffin’s wife of more than 30 years, said Griffin was in considerable pain late in life but could not tolerate pain medication and remained active.
She said it was Griffin’s wish to be cremated without ceremony, but friends can donate to his favorite charity, the Salvation Army, or to Hope Hospice.
Charlie Whitehead is a writer for the Naples Daily News.