August 22, 1959 - October 8, 2021
Charlotte, North Carolina - Gary "Parks" Griffith, 62, of Weddington, North Carolina, passed away on October 8, 2021. Parks was born on August 22, 1959 in Greensboro, N.C. Parks is survived by his beloved wife Kathleen and treasured children Catelyn and Brooks; his mother Iris Griffith, brother Vernon Griffith, sister Lin Causey; mother-in-law Mary Ann Dey, numerous brothers- and sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, and dear friends. Parks was predeceased in death by his father Gary Griffith and father-in-law Thomas Dey. Parks graduated from the University of North Carolina - Wilmington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education and Wake Forest University with a master’s degree in Exercise & Sport Science. He swam on an athletic scholarship for the UNC-W Seahawk Swim Team and received an academic scholarship to Wake Forest for his graduate education. Parks was a pioneer in the field of cardiac rehabilitation. He joined Carolinas Healthcare System in 1988 and served as Director of Healthy Life, leading the Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Program for nearly 25 years. The impact he had on the thousands of patients he helped shepherd from terror of their heart disease to confidence in their ability to live full and rich lives is incalculable. Even more profound is to realize how many of the patients Parks helped went on to bless the lives of their own loved ones with their modeling of heart-healthy living. Parks will be remembered as a devoted father and husband, a friend, and an athlete. Above all, he loved Kathleen, Catelyn and Brooks. He was transformed by the pride in and happiness of raising his children and seeing their many accomplishments. We all know how hard these past years have been. Some say that, when the going gets tough, the essence of our true spirit distills out. In our world, a hero is someone who creates safe spaces for others. Since Parks was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Degeneration, or FTD, in 2012 … there has been a heroic community of family, friends, volunteers and caregivers who provided a great amount of support throughout this difficult journey. The family is eternally grateful for the love and care shown by so many. Parks was a craftsman, enjoyed woodworking and was known by his neighbors as a true “gentleman farmer.” He spent much of his free time maintaining the gardens, working the land with his Massey Ferguson tractor, and attending to the many projects in his barn/headquarters/man cave. He found peace and joy in walking the pastures of his farm with his loyal border collie Molly, baling hay, and building much of his own furniture to ensure his home was perfect for his family. Parks loved training, riding and Eventing with his beloved thoroughbred horse High Hopes. Known for his excellence and dedication to physical, mental and heart health, as a triathlete, he trained hard and was dedicated to getting the work done every day. With incredible discipline, he hit the pool at 5 a.m., ran at lunch and then topped the day with a bike ride for his 5 o’clock happy hour. It was a regimen and a pleasure for him to train each day. He was an Ironman in so many ways. That great laugh, winning smile and wit … his keen judgement and wise insight … and his kind, sweet, affectionate soul will be missed by both family and friends. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at 1 p.m., at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Charlotte, N.C. Due to the pandemic, masks are required. An outdoor reception will be held following the service at the Griffith’s home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD, 2700 Horizon Drive, Suite 120, King of Prussia, PA 19406) or Shining Stars Adult Day Respite, 1844 Sterling Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28209.
Charlotte, North Carolina - Gary "Parks" Griffith, 62, of Weddington, North Carolina, passed away on October 8, 2021. Parks was born on August 22, 1959 in Greensboro, N.C. Parks is survived by his beloved wife Kathleen and treasured children... View Obituary & Service Information
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