McGriff left big shoes to fill

Published 9:39 pm Monday, September 13, 2010

Chilton County said goodbye to one of its best-known names in education Saturday, O.J. McGriff.

McGriff, 87, of Verbena, served on the Chilton County Board of Education for 32 years and served as chairman for most of those years. He was also a World War II veteran and worked 46 years for Alabama Power Company.

Those who worked with McGriff remember him as a fair and honest man who was a pillar of the community.

“I followed in his shoes, and they were some mighty big shoes to fill,” said Board of Education member Ann Glasscock, who was McGriff’s successor as chairman and served alongside him for six years.

Glasscock remembers asking McGriff if he thought she could handle the position, and she never forgot his advice.

“He said as long as you make your decisions based on what you believe is right in your heart, it’ll never be the wrong decision,” she recalled.

Glasscock added that McGriff was very compassionate with kids and that he was “stern, in a loving way.”

“He had education in his heart. He lived and breathed it,” she said. “Everyone in the community shares the loss.”

Board member Curtis Smith was vocational superintendent under McGriff from 1969-1980.

“He always was fair in what he told you,” Smith said. “You could depend on him, and he was just a good man. He is going to be missed.”

McGriff’s son, Glenn, shared a unique perspective on his father’s legacy.

“He was something else. He signed many a diploma in Chilton County. He signed my diploma,” he said.

O.J. McGriff leaves behind his wife, Martha; a daughter, three sons, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Graveside services are scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. at Verbena Cemetery with the Rev. Doug Orr and the Rev. Tony Hughes officiating.

Note: Managing Editor Justin Averette contributed to this report.