On Friday morning, April 10, 2020, Clara Elizabeth “Toppi” Nance Griffin successfully completed her mission here on earth and passed peacefully to her heavenly home.
She was born November 18, 1918 on a farm in southeastern Catoosa County, GA. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Ernest Griffin, a granddaughter, Keri Beth Bartolomucci, a great-great grandson, Hudson Price, parents, Oscar Leland Nance and Sarah Elizabeth Cash Nance, and siblings, Edgar Nance, Druwillie Edwards, Ila Harmon, Fleta Pruett, Bruce Nance, Randall Nance, Doris Kathleen Nance, William Osborne Nance, Jo Ann Nance, and R. L. Nance.
Toppi is survived by her sons, Macoy (Norma) Griffin and Hiram (Jane) Griffin, grandchildren, Sherie Griffin, Enoch Griffin, Keith Griffin, Scott Griffin, Blake Griffin, and Chris Griffin, great- grandchildren, Will Posey, Megan Bartolomucci, Nick Bartolomucci, Trevor Teasley, Caleb Griffin, Alaina Price, Laura Souther, Alexa Griffin, Casey Zawadzki, Kinsey Griffin, Madison Griffin, and Addison Griffin, great-great grandchildren, Kayleigh Fryer, Griffin Souther, Turner Price, Bergen Souther, and Finley Price. Also, a sister, Carolyn Love, and brother, Norman (Mickey) Nance. Numerous nieces and nephews also survive.
Toppi lived life to the fullest and could even be a little impatient at times. She began work as a school cafeteria manager when wood cook stoves were in vogue, operated a popular Tunnel Hill restaurant for twenty-nine years, was a substitute school teacher, worked as a sitter at Hamilton Medical Center (for fifteen years), and much more.
Toppi has painted, wrote numerous poems, sang for fifteen years with the Dalton Community Choir and about twenty-five years with the Sounds of Joy Senior Group. She has traveled to all fifty states as well as China, Europe (12 countries), Samaria, Lebanon, Syria, and the Holy Land (five times – last four as a tour host.) An excellent cook, for many, many years, she hosted several special brunches and dinners annually at her home.
Apart from her family, perhaps her most impactful work has been with her Church and her community. From teaching Sunday School or leading a study at Church to helping lead a community project (such as getting the first fire truck, police officer, and street lights in the community), or raising funds for a local school project, she was a tireless worker. She was a Certified Lay Speaker for thirty-two years and a delegate to Annual Conference for twelve years. Her love for God is unquestioned and her continual quest to know Him better has been wonderful to behold. Her family is ever grateful for the love and affection that so many Church and community people have shown Toppi over the years. She gave a lot but also received a lot..
One of her most remarkable accomplishments has been her ability to hold two families together for decades. Toppi’s husband died in 1981. Her parents had passed away earlier. For roughly forty years, she has been the glue that has kept each family close. Family dinners and rather constant communication have resulted in a closeness on each side of her family. You would never have known whether she was born a Nance or a Griffin.
This is only a small glimpse of her amazing life. Yes, there were plenty of bumps but her faith and perseverance never failed her.
Her family would like to thank the staff at Hamilton Medical Center that took such good care of Toppi for the last two days of her life.
Due to the present situation, the family had a small, private service on Sunday, April 12. A celebration of life will be held after the current crisis is over.
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