Grand Master Thomas Frederick Griffin, son of William Levi and Dorothy Griffin, was born on July 25, 1951, in Liberty, Texas. Tommy was raised in the oil fields of southeast Texas along with his two sisters, Patsy and Gerry , and one brother, Bill. Very proud of his roots, Tommy attended East Chambers High School where he excelled in athletics, receiving all-district honors in football, basketball, baseball, tennis and track. After graduating with honors, he attended the University of Houston and Lamar University, majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting. Before completing his education and while attending U of H, Tommy was drafted by Uncle Sam and decided to join the Marine Corps where he proudly served his country in administrative duties in 1st Battalion, 23rd Mar, 4th MarDiv FMF USMC, both active and reserve, from 1971 to 1977.
After returning home in 1973, Brother Griffin attended night school at Lamar University and began working full time with his Dad, who started
Griffin Paraffin Service in 1967, a wireline specialty company, performing sub-surface “slick line” operations in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Being a member of a family that encouraged the work ethic, he began mowing pastures when he was eleven years old and did oil field construction during summer vacations for C.M. and V.W. Frost, the company that employed his Dad. Brother Tommy learned surface operations of oil field production at an early age, which helped him considerably when involved in practical application of wireline procedures. Tommy’s Dad passed away in 1985 and although Tommy has run the corporation since 1975, he attributes the success to his Mom and Dad, who struggled in the beginning years of business. Tommy’s Mom was the bookkeeper for the business until her retirement in the early 90’s. She passed away in 1998.
Tommy is very proud of their business motto, “Another good job done…by Griffin Paraffin Service,” and will continue to apply his strong work ethics throughout his year as Grand Master.
Tommy and Vi, the love of his life, have three children, Sandra, Matt, and Kristel and two grandchildren who are spoiled, at least by them. Tommy and Vi met at a Rainbow Girls oyster fry, and the rest is history. They both like to fish and play golf, but not necessarily in that order. Tommy brags about his 3 handicap and Vi admits her handicap is her honesty. We know you have heard fish stories, but guess who caught the biggest flounder? (7 ¼ lbs).
Tommy and Vi are members of the First United Methodist Church of Winnie-Stowell, where Tommy was baptized as an infant. He was a member of the Methodist Youth Foundation when growing up and sang in the choir on Sunday mornings. He has served as Administrative Board Chairman, Chairman of the Council on Ministries, Chairman of the Administrative of the Council, is currently Chairman of Staff Parish Relations Committee and Lay Leader, and is also President of The United Methodist Men (UMM). He has taught the Men’s Sunday School Class and is a certified Lay Speaker for the Southeast Texas Conference. He loves to cook and has done so for the UMM’s group for the last 20 years, which meets on the 4th Monday night. (Don’t expect him to plan anything Masonic on that night.). Past Grand Master Griffin believes in the Methodist tradition of participation with your prayers, your presence, your gifts, and your time.
Tommy is President of the Fairview Cemetery Association, Inc. and has been active in community affairs helping with the Texas Rice Festival and being Chairman of the Winnie-Stowell Duck’s Unlimited Chapter which he helped establish in 1980.
Brother Tommy was influenced to join Masonry by his Dad, a Charter member of Winnie-Stowell Lodge No. 1377, and his Grandfather, a Past Master of Victoria Lodge No. 40. He was initiated, passed and raised in Winnie-Stowell Lodge No. 1377 in 1978 and earned his “A” proficiency certificate that same year. He served as Worshipful Master of Winnie-Stowell Lodge in 1980-81, then as Chaplain for many years and presently serves as Secretary, since 1992.
An Endowed member of Winnie-Stowell Lodge No. 1377 and Milam Lodge No. 11, he is also a Life Member in Sul Ross Lodge No. 1300 and Bullard Lodge No. 785. He received the Golden Trowel Award in 1995 from Winnie-Stowell Lodge, and served on the advisory board of the Order of Rainbow for Girls from 1980-1990 and was presented the Grand Cross of Color honor in 1989.
Brother Tommy was appointed as District Instructor in 1989 and was elected to the Committee-on-Work where he served from 1992-2004. Serving as chairman of that Committee three times, 1995, 1999, and 2002, he received his Life Time “A” Certificate in 2003. He has served as a planning team member for Right Worshipful David Dibrell in 2001 and as area co-coordinator for Right Worshipful Michael Nanny in 2002. Elected as Grand Junior Warden in December, 2004, Grand Senior Warden in 2005, and Deputy Grand Master in 2006, he was installed on December 8, 2007 as Grand Master of Masons in Texas.
Grand Master Griffin received his York Rite Degrees in Beaumont Chapter, Council and Commandery in 1988 and served as High Priest in 1990-91, District Deputy Grand High Priest in 1995, and as By-Laws Committee Chairman for Grand Chapter in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. He was Thrice Illustrious Master in 1993-94 and 1997-98, District Deputy Grand Master in 1999, and is currently serving on the By-Laws Committee of Grand Council. Tommy was Eminent Commander of Beaumont Commandery in 1994 and 2003 and Port Arthur Commandery in 1999, and received the Ex-Caliber Award from Beaumont Commandery.
Having served as a member of the Grand Commandery Foreign Relations Committee from 1996-2001, he received the honor of Knight York Court of Honor in 1994, and is a member of Thomas Rideout Chapter. He is a Past Governor of Southeast Texas York Rite College No. 90, received the Order of the Purple Cross in 1996, and is a very proud member of the York Rite
Esoteric Association of Texas.
Brother Tommy is a charter member and Past Excellent Chief of Dick Dowling Chapter of Knight Masons and a Charter Member and past Sovereign Master of John Gates Council of Allied Masonic Degrees. He received the honor of Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest of Resurrection Tabernacle in 1998 and is a member of St. Thomas of Acon. A past Puissant Sovereign of San Felipe Conclave of the Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine, he was also inducted into the Texas College of Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis in 2005.
Grand Master Griffin is an endowed member of the Galveston Valley Scottish Rite and is a Past Venerable Master of San Felipe Lodge of Perfection, Past Preceptor of Galveston Council of Kadosh, Past Master of Kadosh of Galveston Consistory, and is currently serving as treasurer of the four bodies in the Galveston Valley. A Degree Master of the 16th Degree Team for many years, he is currently the Degree Master for the 24th Degree Team and the 33rd Degree Team, and a member of the 32nd Degree Team. Having received the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (32nd KCCH) degree in 1993, he was coroneted with the Inspectors General Honorary 33rd degree in 1999. He is also a member of El Mina Shrine of Galveston, where he served as ambassador in 1997 and 2004.
Brother Tommy and his wife are very active in the Order of the Eastern Star and are members of Anahuac Chapter No. 649. Tommy has served as Worthy Patron six times and has served on the Masonic Relations Committee of Grand Chapter six years and the Arrangements Committee twice. He also was Page to the Associate Grand Patron in 1997-98 and served as General Chairman of the Masonic Family Unity Committee that same year.
Grand Master Griffin is a “traditionalist” and believes Masonic education is vital to our continual existence. The ritual being his passion, its promotion will be a top priority. He believes that although we have quite a few Brothers that teach our ritual, we are in need of those Brethren who really know what Freemasonry is all about and are willing to learn that aspect of our education process, and instruct it to our candidates as they enter into the greatest fraternity known to man.