Royce O. Griffin, Jr.

Obituary Notice

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 generosity.

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.

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  • "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. 
    Phil Feigin
    his Deputy Commissioner in Colorado, 1982-1986
    Denver, Colorado


  • 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.
    Pat Morgan 
    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.
    Ellen Lieberman 
    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
    Lima, Peru 


  • 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 
    Madison, Wisconsin 


  • 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.
    Mark Davis 
    Washington, D.C. 


  • 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, 
    Judy Anderson
    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
    Windham, Connecticut


  • 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.
    David Brant
    Former Securities Commissioner of Kansas (1996-2003)
    Topeka, Kansas


  • Stephen Blumenthal
    Deputy Director, Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight
    Washington, D.C.






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