Sgt Mary Frances Danaher Griggs WWII USMCWR

Mary Danaher 1944

By Gary Griggs

Mary Danaher was the oldest of 10 and born in St Joseph Mo on April 3, 1923. After High School she had a boyfriend and a good job. But when war broke out she felt someone in her family should represent the family in the war effort and with her brother not old enough she answered the call.

Mary Danaher circa 1940

She was one of the first to join when the Marines allowed Women to enlist. She went to boot camp in Camp Lejune and radio school in Ohio at the University. She ended up at the Marine Corps Air Station Eagle Mountain Lake north of Fort Worth, Texas.

There Sgt Mary F. Danaher met Sgt Harry E. Griggs from Williamsport Pennsylvania. He had served in the South Pacific in Marine Air Group 13. They married September 20, 1945 and had 9 children. They settled in Kansas City, Mo. where Mary went to Rockhurst College on the GI bill. This in addition her role as a wife and Mother to the 9 children.

They moved to Prescott Arizona in 1971 where Mary worked for the National Forest Service and as a Real Estate Agent. She stayed active with the local community college taking classes on photography, geology, and art.

Harry died in 1982 and Mary moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in October 1988. As she did from Arizona she drove to Kansas City and took her Grandchildren on adventures. They went to the Sand Dunes, Royal Gorge, Garden of the Gods and any place else she could teach them lessons in life, responsibility, and relationships.

Mary was active with Harry’s Marine Corps MAG13 buddies. They held reunions each year and she made the trip to Texas, Florida, Las Vegas… where ever they were. She and the Marines and their wives were close friends to their last days. In 2018 as she prepared to drive to KC for her 95th Birthday party Mary fell and broke her arm and her back. After a brutal 6 month rehab she was back in her home. There she was walking and active until another fall in 2019. This time she broke her hip,  again 6 month rehab and home again. June 1, 2020 she left us surrounded by family. Never a complaint always thinking of others she led an example in life a path her grandchildren walk in today. With all her interests the most important one was family and friends.

She had family and friends of all ages from coast to coast. She never gave up on anyone and she never left anyone behind.

Semper Fi

NameMary Danaher
Muster DateJul 1943
StationCentral Procurement Division, 753, U S Court House Building, Chicago, Illinois
NameMary Danaher
Muster DateOct 1943
RankPrivate First Class
StationMarine Training Detachment, Us Naval Training School (Radio), Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Name:Mary Danaher
Muster Date:Jan 1944
Rank:Private First Class
Station:Marine Training Detachment, Us Naval Training School, (Radio), Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Name:Mary Danaher
Muster Date:Jan 1945
Station:Hq Sq, Mcas, Eagle Mountain Lake, (Fort Worth), Texas.
NameMary Danaher
Muster DateJul 1945
StationHeadquarters Squardron, U. S. Marine Corps Air Station, Eagle Mountain Lake, (Fort Worth), Texas

Mary Frances Griggs

April 03, 1923 – June 01, 2020

Mary Frances Danaher Griggs, age 97, died June 1, 2020 at her home in Colorado Springs, CO. 

                Mary was born on April 3, 1923 in St. Joseph, MO to John and Lucy Danaher.  She graduated in 1940 from Convent of the Sacred Heart High School in St. Joseph where she was a member of the Iduhey Charm Club. 

                Mary worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company until she volunteered for the U.S.M.C. Women’s Reserve in WWII in which she served from 1943 – 1945.

                On September 20, 1945, in St. Joseph, MO, Mary was married to Harry E. Griggs, a Marine from Williamsport, PA.  Of this union, nine children were born.

Mary attended college on the G.I. bill at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, MO and Washburn University in Topeka, KS.  She had a lifelong interest in learning.  She especially enjoyed her studies and experience in genealogy, photography and geology in Prescott, AZ and Colorado Springs, CO.  AL-Anon was an important program in her life.  Since age 60, Mary attended classes at Senior Centers.  At the age of 80, Mary completed a 4-year Bible course presented by the Benedictine Sisters at Benet Hill, Colorado Springs.  In her 80s and 90s, she participated in UCCS studies on senior aging. An ardent Democrat who was proud of her Irish ancestry and heritage, Mary had an avid interest in people, places and things Irish.

                Following the death of Harry in 1982, Mary worked for the Forest Service in Prescott, AZ from 1982 to1988 when she moved to Colorado Springs.  Since then she has made her home there.  She was a member of Saint Patrick Parish in Colorado Springs and a lifetime member of the Women Marines Association (WMA).  Mary was honored to join the Greatest Generation trip to Hawaii.

Mary was the family photographer who captured and preserved those precious snapshots of her family and friends.

                Mary was predeceased by her husband Harry, daughter Terry Lynn, sons Patrick Joseph and Paul Christopher, sister Catherine Whalen and brothers John, Leonard, Joseph, James and Thomas.

                Mary is survived by her children Annette M. Cole, Gary H. (Kathy), Carol A. (Chuck) Nelson, David (Debbie), Steven (Julie), and Margaret A. (Micheal) Ridge, numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and sisters Agnes Barry, Helen Unruh and Margaret D’Huyvetter.

Mary touched her family, relatives, and friends so deeply that she changed the world and left it a better place for her being here. We love her more than we can say.

A private visitation and funeral with military honors will be held in St. Joseph MO.