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Harry John Griffiths

Harry John Griffiths, 1936 – 2016, was a driven and self-made man who had a heart of gold and always put family first. This exceptional father, grandfather, husband, and individual passed away on Saturday, March 12, 2016, but his legacy lives on in his loving family and his pioneering contributions to agriculture. He will forever be remembered and respected by his wife, Diane Griffiths; his son, Michael Griffiths; and his daughters, Cathy Puckett and Beth Parsons, as well as his large network of family, friends, and business colleagues.

Harry spent most of his childhood moving from state to state and country to country as part of an air force family, including his mother, Mildred (Mickey), father Merwin (Griff), sisters Diane and Dale, and brother, Scott. While living in Bordentown, New Jersey, at only 13 years old, he met his future wife, Janice Probasco, who was only 12. It was love from the start. Although he had to move away with his family, he eventually made his way back to Janice and attended a high school military academy in New Jersey. Soon after graduation, they married when he was 20 and she was 19.

During their 47 years of marriage, their love remained passionate and true and they conquered the world together. Harry completed a degree at Cal Poly Pomona in entomology. At 34, he started his own business, Entomological Services Inc. (ESI), and later acquired Foothill Agricultural Research (FAR).

Through research, trial and error, and a lot of hard work, Harry made major contributions in the field of integrated pest management (IPM) and was the first to successfully apply this process to citrus. The concept was to use good bugs to kill the bad bugs that were damaging crops and significantly reduce the use of chemicals in pest control. Internationally, Harry was recognized as the pre-eminent expert in the field, received numerous awards, trained others, and was even asked to be part of a congressional committee studying IPM. Over the years, he and Janice accumulated their own citrus groves and at one point owned 900 acres of orchards.

While his work was important, family was everything to Harry. He loved his wife and children unconditionally, more than most people have the capacity to love. He was a self-acknowledged “strict disciplinarian,” who believed in instilling structure, values, and a strong work ethic in his kids. But his love and pride in them was evident and ever present. His kids credit his high expectations and constant love for their successes in both their professional and personal lives.

Harry believed in hard work and family-first, but he also liked to have fun and share his good fortune. He and Janice traveled and collected art around the world, and had a particular love for Africa and the animals they saw on safaris. Together, they enjoyed theater, parties and friends. Harry had a particular flair for gardening and created an exquisite yard and home. He was a true competitor, whether on the golf course, playing handball or at a bridge table. He was passionate about understanding the world and kept up on politics, world affairs and current events. And he was a generous donor to the San Diego Zoological Society, Scripps Green Hospital, San Diego Botanical Garden, and the Fallbrook Art Center.

In 2005, Harry lost the love of his life when Janice passed away. This loss was devastating and it was hard for him to go on. But he met and married Diane Jackson in 2007. She was a positive light in his life and gave him love and companionship. They had 10 years together in their beautiful home and enjoyed collecting art and spending time with family.

Harry will be deeply missed. His was a life of devotion, commitment, and dedication to his family and his work. His contributions were significant. His place in the heart of those who loved him, unending.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to the Fallbrook Art Center at 103 S. Main Avenue, Fallbrook, CA 92028, to the attention of Mary Perhacs. A celebration of life memorial service will be held at noon on April 15 at the Golf Club of California in Fallbrook, at 3742 Flowerwood Lane.

 

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