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Remembering Dean Griffith

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A Visionary Spirit

It is with great sadness and many memories that we announce the passing of Dean Ladd Griffith, Chairman Emeritus of Griffith Foods. Through constant visionary leadership, Dean guided the organization for sixty-six years, serving as a mentor and role model for all Griffith employees.

Dean grew up in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago near Griffith’s first facility on 37th Street in Chicago. Throughout his childhood, he learned from his father and grandfather the value of integrity, caring for people and a passion for developing solutions. After serving in the United States Army, Dean attended Northwestern University where he met his future wife, Lois. In 1950, he graduated with a degree in Business Administration, married Lois and began his career with Griffith Foods, eventually becoming the third-generation Griffith family member to lead the company.

For sixty-six years, Dean worked at Griffith, a company founded in 1919, serving the food industry with a unique blend of innovation and expertise. Throughout his tenure with the organization, Dean crafted a dual legacy of international growth blended with the commitment of “doing well by doing good.” When the company entered a new international market, focus was placed on generating profit and helping employees and the community. Now with a presence in over 30 countries, these core values continue to guide Brian Griffith, Dean’s son and the organization’s fourth-generation Chairman of the Board. Griffith Foods’ Sustainability Platform, of People, Planet and Performance, reinforces the family’s passion for serving as a vehicle for greater good.

Dean’s character and leadership was illustrated through his understanding of the necessity of evolution. In his 2006 memoir, The Griffith Story: Memories, Reflections, Visions, Dean stated:

“Just as transformation occurs in nature, it also occurs in business. Knowledge from the past is recycled and transformed by the demands of new situations. The changes occurring in today’s world affect every aspect of business, so it is crucial that we continually transform ourselves.”

On October 15, 2015, Dean and Lois joined Brian to usher in the next phase of Griffith’s evolution, introducing Griffith’s transformation to Griffith Foods.

Dean’s life has been characterized by a constant desire to experience and embrace others’ cultures and an unending generosity to those in need. His leadership will always inspire us as an organization, as we continue to believe what Dean always said: “The best is yet to come.”
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