Royce O. Griffin, Jr.
Royce O. Griffin Jr., 58, a native of Little Rock and a nationally recognized
expert in securities law, died Sunday, Feb. 13, after a brief illness. Griffin
was a partner in Griffin & Block Law Firm.
The general counsel to the North American Securities Administrators
Association from 2000-2003, Griffin worked to protect investors against fraud
via a multi-state task force he conceived and helped structure to investigate
faulty research reports generated by investment banking firms. He testified as
an expert witness in securities lawsuits nationwide.
As Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton, 1977-1980, Griffin created the
agency's first antitrust division with a grant he won from the Department of
Justice. He successfully prosecuted antitrust claims against Arkansas dairies in
a school-milk price-fixing case and handled complex multi-state federal cases,
public utility proceedings and constitutional challenges. After briefly serving
as Assistant Securities Commissioner for the state, he was hired as the Colorado
Securities Commissioner and moved to Denver. He also served as senior counsel to
the Telecommunications and Finance Subcommittee in the U.S. House of
Representatives and as Special Counsel to the New Mexico Securities Division,
where he rewrote the division's rules before returning to the Arkansas Attorney
General's Office in 1991, where he was Chief Deputy under Winston Bryant.
Griffin attended public schools in Little Rock and earned a Bachelor of Arts
degree in history from Harvard University and his juris doctorate from the
University of Texas Law School, where he was on the Texas Law Review. After law
school and a brief stint with the Owens, McHaney and McHaney Law Firm, Griffin
was made senior law clerk in the U.S. District Court in Little Rock. It was at
this time that Griffin began what would become his legendary forays into Chinese
cooking, serving feasts to guests seated at his ping-pong table, the only table
in his home large enough to accommodate his friends. In 1981, Griffin, forehead
wrapped in his customary red bandana, prepared a 10-course meal for more than
100 people at a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Arkansas Consumer
Research, commandeering the kitchen of the old Fu Lin Restaurant downtown. As
each course was brought out, dignitaries, including future President Bill
Clinton and Attorney General Jim Guy Tucker, gave a toast.
Griffin was an avid fisherman all of his life and more recently enjoyed
sailing at Lake Ouachita. His wife, Brenda Lilly, and their dogs, Nato, Pepper,
Kona and Lucy, were his greatest loves. He enjoyed adventures in good eating,
reading science fiction and watching movies.
Besides his wife, Griffin is survived by an aunt, Bertha Hargis, and several
cousins. He will be remembered by his friends for his brilliant mind, an often
acerbic wit, his love of rock and roll, his hot beef shreds and his quiet
The family wishes to thank Dr. Paul Zelnick and the staff of St. Vincent
Infirmary's coronary care unit for their attention and care.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17, at Ruebel
Funeral Home. The family will be receiving at their home. Memorials may be made
to the Pulaski County Humane Society and the Union Rescue Mission.
- "I wish, I wish, I wish in vain,
We could sit simply in that room once again,
Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat,
I'd give it all gladly if our lives could be like that."
No more fitting tribute than a quote from Dylan for the man who gave me a
big chance and taught me what grit, courage, loyalty and conviction really
mean. What a mind, and what a heart. He imbued a generation of state
securities regulators across the country with a drive to do more and then
more again to protect America's investors. We should be ever so lucky to see
his kind again. He was a tough friend, but a friend to whom I shall be
forever indebted and whom I shall never forget. With my deepest respect and
the love for a soldier who shared his foxhole, I bid him an all too soon
farewell. My condolenses to Brenda and all others who grieve his loss. Take
some comfort in the tributes that I am certain will flow over his memory
like the lakes and rivers he loved so much.
his Deputy Commissioner in Colorado, 1982-1986
- Jenny Boshears
Little Rock, Arkansas
- Glenn Pomeroy
North Dakota Securities Commissioner (1988-1992)
Overland Park, Kansas
- Due to our age differences I never got to know my first cousin Royce Jr.
well. That is a shame. I too am an avid fisherman. I wish we had enjoyed an
outing together. I will think of him the next time I'm on the lake or river.
John L. Layson
Mountain Home, Arkansas
- Brenda, My name is Patsy Gatlin, I worked in the Attorney General's Office
during Royce's tenure there with Winston Bryant. I worked with Ginger Bailey
in the Outreach Division--He was always a kind person. You and your family
have my sympathy.
Patsy J. Gatlin
Investigator--Attorney General's Office
Little Rock, Arkansas
- Brenda, with deepest sympathy my prayers are with you. Royce will be
greatly missed and never forgotten.
North Little Rock, Arkansas
- Brenda, we offer our prayers and condolences for the sudden death of
Royce, your husband and Bill's first cousin. . Bill's conversations with
Royce were always enjoyed and will always be remembered. We wish that we
could have had more time to get to know each other. Fishing must be the
number one sport for all of the syblings born to John Calvin and Minnie
Fawcett Griffin and to all now and future generations. Our families have
been so blessed. Brenda, you and Royce will remain in our prayers.
Bill & Gloria Ballowe
Des Arc, Arkansas
- The "blue sky" community is saddened by the loss of Royce
Griffin. He was greatly respected by us all. Our thoughts are with his
family at this difficult time.
Counsel to Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
New York, New York
- To Brenda and All Friends and Family of Royce--We were shocked and
saddened to hear about Royce. We will miss him too. We wish we could have
attended the service, but as you may know, we are in Peru. Our thoughts are
with you. Love,
Kay and Jim Barton
- To family and friends of Royce Griffin; I was hired by Royce in 1981 to be
his initial "chief examiner" at the Colorado Division of
Securities. Our main challenge at the Division was to work with a securities
law that offered few effective weapons and required a lot of creativity to
combat the large amount of securities fraud in the state. Thanks to Royce
who believed in pushing the envelope we were successful in reviving a tired
and ineffective state agency into one that was an active and effective
force. By the time that Royce left the position of Colorado Commissioner of
Securities, the agency already had a reputation in Colorado and within the
country of being a leader in state securities regulation. I will never
forget the fantastic dinners that Royce prepared for his staff that
literally consisted of eating non stop for about 5 hours. And he wondered
why I had to jog during my free moments. Royce had a dry sense of humor and
never took himself too seriously. I was truly honored to know Royce and
learned a great deal from him especially about not letting others tell you
that "it can't be done."
Terry D. Nelson
Partner, Foley & Lardner, LLP
- I was truly saddened at Royce's passing. He hired me at NASAA and, as
promised, turned me into a securities lawyer. Even after he moved back home,
he continued to provide valuable advice. I am sorry to lose his friendship
and express my sincere condolences to Brenda.
- Brenda Griffin
Little Rock, Arkansas
- Brenda, I'll always remember the way Royce enriched our little group of
friends during our undergraduate days. He figures in many of my favourite
stories about those times! He will be missed, but not forgotten. I wish you
all the best. Sincerely,
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
- I am very sorry to hear of Royce's passing. I have known him since I was
seventeen and he always had that same sense of humor. I can't thank him
enough for all the wonderful experiences he showed my son, Isaac. He was a
very generous, fun-loving man and I am sure he will be missed by many. My
sympathies to his wife, Brenda.
Caryl Potter Chowanec Serwanski
- I just learned of Royce's death and I join others in offering tribute to
Royce's great mind, talented writing, and his tireless efforts in securities
regulation and consumer protection. I became acquainted with Royce through
NASAA and we worked together on a position paper which was published in 2003
regarding the functional regulation of variable annuities. Royce fought the
good fight and it was a privilege to work with him.
Former Securities Commissioner of Kansas (1996-2003)
- Stephen Blumenthal
Deputy Director, Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight