In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Florence Sanders Griggs, 1927-2024

Portrait of Florence Griggs. IMB Photo

Florence Sanders Griggs, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Zimbabwe, died March 14, 2024, in Jefferson City, Tennessee. She was 97.

Florence was born Feb. 8, 1927, in Blue Diamond, Kentucky, to her mother, Dillo and Dorothy Crooke Sanders. She graduated from Wynn High School and received the Bachelor of Arts from Carson Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and the Master of Arts from Carver School of Missions in Louisville, Kentucky.

After completing her undergraduate degree, her obituary reported that, “Being the first in her family to go to college, she wanted to give back to the children of Eastern Kentucky. She taught school for seven years at Oneida Christian School and led their chorale.”

While in seminary, she met John Paul Griggs. She married him in 1958.

In 1962, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed Florence and John missionaries to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Her obituary reports that, “They spent the next 35 years there, learning the Shona language, teaching and preaching, and Florence leading women’s groups. They also raised five children while there, and Florence often said that her children were her greatest source of joy and fulfillment.”

They retired in 1996 and continued in ministry.

Florence is survived by her five children: Dottie Serio (Joey), Ruth O’Toole (Terry); Mary Naude (Fred), Becky Jordan (Tab) and Philip, nine grandchildren; and four great grandchildren.

A funeral service was held March 22, at First Baptist Church, Morristown, Tennessee.

Read an obituary here.