Remembering Joseph Wright Griggs, advocate and whistleblower
July 9, 1930 – February 2, 2016
By Linda Lewis
Joe Griggs, known to friends and family as “J. Wright,” was a teacher and psychologist, a deeply religious man with a reputation for integrity. He refused to alter the grades of student athletes, as directed, and reported wrongdoing in a government grant administration program. With that experience, Joe became a dedicated supporter of whistleblowers and served as president of the Whistleblower Support Fund board until illness intervened.
Joe was born in Lubbock, Texas on July 9, 1930 to Dr. Joseph R. Griggs and Euna E. Knowles Griggs. His mother and grandmother instilled in him a lifelong love of poetry, and he began writing poems himself at the age of 19.
Joe served his country during the Korean War. After two years in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of North Texas, in Denton, Texas, where he earned an Ed.D. in Educational Psychology. He taught elementary school for four years before becoming a professor at Central State University, in Edmond, Oklahoma (1964-72), teaching educational psychology. He then joined the Educational Research Council of America in Cleveland where he was a Senior Research Associate from 1972-75.
From 1975-85, he worked at the Institute of Mental Health in Rockville, MD, as a school mental health specialist. After retiring from the federal government, Joe returned to teaching–this time in the country then known as Slovakia, where he taught English as a Second Language.
Joe passed away in Dallas, Texas, on February 2, 2016. He left behind a wife of 22 years, the former Ruth Allen, a brother and two sisters, and many nieces and nephews. He is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Fort Worth.
Sources: Dallas Morning News, Feb. 7, 2016, and JWG Ministries