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Simon P. Griffis, dedicated life to art education ; April 21, 1962 -- June 28, 2010

A memorial service for local arts educator Simon P. Griffis is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday in Christ the King Chapel at Canisius College.

Mr. Griffis was killed in a hiking accident Monday in Zoar Valley. He was 48.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Canisius High School and Ithaca College. Simon Griffis was the son of the well-known late sculptor Larry W. Griffis Jr., upon whose foundation he expanded into his own vision in the field of arts education.

Simon Griffis served as executive director of the Ashford Hollow Foundation, which operates both the Griffis Sculpture Park near Ellicottville in Cattaraugus County and the Essex Street Art Center on Buffalo's West Side. He also founded the Griffis Studio for Youth, where he taught art and life skills to thousands of children through local Boys & Girls clubs.

Before heading the Ashford Hollow Foundation, Mr. Griffis ran Invisible Fence, in which he sold wireless dog collars in 1980s and early 1990s.

He is survived by his wife of 23 years, the former Laurianne Phillips; a daughter, Keelin; his mother, Patricia Blaine; four brothers, Mark, Damian, William and Lawrence; and two sisters, Pamela and Lisa.

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