Mr. Griffin was born in Newtonville, MA. He was the son of George Appleton Griffin and Ellen (Gifford) Griffin of Woods Hole. A 10th-generation Cape Codder, he lived in Falmouth for most of his life. Through his mother, he traced his ancestry in Falmouth and Woods Hole back to the Giffords, Hatches and Robinsons, who settled the area in 1661.
Mr. Griffin was married for 49 years to Martha (Vincent) Griffin until her death in 1992. In 1994, he married Catherine B. Enos of Edgartown.