Joseph Lee “Joe” Griffith, 70, of Indianapolis passed away July 31, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Indianapolis on February 17, 1953, to the late Lloyd and Audrey Maxine (Collins) Griffith. Joe worked 30 years for Caterpillar Inc. as their Safety Officer and as an Emergency Parts Clerk. He was a Firefighter with the Decatur Township Fire Department serving 42 years, responding to more than 45,000 emergency runs. These included rescuing stranded civilians during the blizzard of ’78 and searching for survivors in the Ramada Inn plane tragedy. Joe served in multiple roles including Division Chief, Training Chief, Arson Investigator, Fire Inspector, Station Officer and CPR Instructor. He was a Fire Instructor at Ivy Tech and trained firefighters throughout the state of Indiana. Joe was the 11th Certified Emergency Medical Technician in the State of Indiana and was instrumental in educating members of multiple fire departments statewide, including the Indianapolis International Airport Department. The standard Driver/Operator program for Fire Trucks in the State of Indiana was created by Joe.
Joe graduated from Decatur Central and was a lifelong resident of Decatur Township. He cared greatly for his community and the people who lived here. He was instrumental in setting up programs that distributed food, clothing, living essentials, and toys to those in need at Christmas. Joe also founded the Decatur Township Fire Department’s Safe Halloween program. Joe served on the Decatur Township Advisory Board, was President of the Decatur Civic Council, was a member of the Decatur Township Drug Coalition, the Marion County Drug Task Force, and a Board Member of the George T. Goodwin Center. He enjoyed coaching youth sports including: Baseball, Basketball, and Soccer. Joe served Mount Pleasant Baptist Church as Sunday School Teacher, a Deacon, Trustee, and Administrator. He was instrumental in starting a Township-wide Vacation Bible School. Joe had a heart for those less fortune and he made feeding the homeless his mission. Joe was very humble and was loved by so many. His passing leaves a void in the community and in the many lives he touched.
Joe is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Sue A. (Ward) Griffith; his children, “Little Joe” Griffith (Crystal), Jeremy Griffith (Melissa), Jason Griffith (Ben Ross), his grandchildren, Jackson, Gage, Presley, Cali Maxine, and Harper; his brother, Stephen Griffith (Virginia); and his dog Billy. Besides his parents Joe was preceded in death by his sister, Sandra, and a nephew, David Griffith.
Visitation will be held on Monday, August 7, 2023, 3:00pm-8:00pm and Tuesday, August 8, 2023, 12:00pm-1:00pm at Southwest Church of the Nazarene, 4797 Tincher Road, Indianapolis, Indiana 46221. Funeral Service will be held Tuesday, August 8, 2023, at 1:00pm at the church. He will be laid to rest following the service at West Newton Cemetery in West Newton, Indiana. Flanner Buchanan Decatur Township is honored to serve the Griffith family during this difficult time. To sign Joe’s online guest registry and share a memory or your favorite story with his family we encourage you to go to www.flannerbuchanan.com
The funeral service will be livestreamed, and can be viewed here: Click Here