On Saturday August 13, 2011 we lost two of our members in an accident in the Pt-19. Timothy Griffith and Kendal Belz. They were two of the greatest people we will ever know. Tim was retired Air Guard Brg General and Kendall was active duty National Guard for 26 years.
Brig. Gen. Timothy Jack Griffith
West Des Moines
Timothy Jack Griffith, 67, died unexpectedly Saturday, August 13, 2011 returning from an air show in Boone, IA. Memorial services will be held 10 a.m., Friday, at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church with burial at Resthaven Cemetery. Tim was born in Des Moines, Iowa. He also lived in Perry, IA, and Corona, CA.
Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Griffith, Iowa's former Air National Guard Chief of Staff, is not only an Iowa native, but with the exception of pilot training, spent all of his National Guard time with the Iowa Air Guard. He was a graduate of Valley High School in West Des Moines and from Marycrest College with a degree in Business Administration. He was also a graduate of Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and the National Security Management course.
General Griffith, a command pilot with more than 7000 flight hours including 3700 flight hours in the F-100, A-F, and the F-16 aircraft, began his military career by direct appointment as a Second Lieutenant on September 14, 1965. He attended undergraduate navigator training with the 3535th Navigator Wing at Mather AFB, California; Radar Intercept School, Des Moines ANGB; ADC Survival School, Perrin AFB, Texas; Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laredo, Texas; F-100 Combat Crew Training, Tucson ANGB, Arizona; A-7D Combat Crew Training, Davis Mothan AFB, Arizona; F-16 Qualification Training, Luke AFB, Arizona.
He was commander of the 124th TFS from October 1, 1984 until he transferred to the Headquarters, Iowa Air National Guard, as the Air Operations Staff Director on November 30, 1989. He was appointed as Chief of Staff September 20, 1992. Griffith was promoted and federally recognized as a Brigadier General on October 25, 1993, with the same date as rank. General Griffith retired from the National Guard as Assistant Adjutant General for Air in 1997.
His civilian career began with the Iowa Aeronautics Commission; after 18 years, Griffith joined the FAA in 1986. His career with the FAA included Accident Prevention Specialist, Operations Inspector and Operations Supervisor. Tim retired from the FAA, as the Manager of the Des Moines Flight Standards District Office in 2004.
His awards and decorations include but are not limited to: the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (third oak leaf cluster), Combat Readiness Medal (third oak leaf cluster), National Defense Service Medal (with bronze star), Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon (fifth oak leaf cluster), and Iowa National Guard State Service Ribbon (fourth oak leaf cluster).
Career highlights include three Atlantic crossings (including leading a 24 ship of A-7's, nonstop, Des Moines to Waddington RAF Base in England) one Pacific crossing and deployments to England, Turkey, Aviano Italy and Chitose Japan. He owned and restored a 1946 Aeronca Champ and thru his affiliation with the Iowa Aviation Heritage Museum he restored and flew a PT-19, T-28 and was currently restoring a N3N.
Flying and family were his life and love. When he wasn't flying he enjoyed golfing, sailing, scuba diving, skiing, fishing, making beer and wine, riding his Harley, reading, carpentry, traveling the world, spending every possible moment watching his grandkids sports, and cheering his beloved Hawkeyes (Go Hawks!). He retired to "Paradise" in Florida where he shared his time with his closest friends and family.
General Griffith was married to the former Linda K. Davis of West Des Moines for 46 years. They reside in Lakewood Ranch, FL. Those left to honor his memory are his mother, Anne Griffith of West Des Moines; daughters, Heather VanSeveren (Eric) of Davenport, IA and Jill Long of West Des Moines; six grandchildren, Sophie, Emma, Josh, and Lily VanSeveren, and Peyton and Karleigh Long; brother, John Griffith (Valerie) of Bellingham, WA; sister, Janie Lyons (Mike) of Medford, NJ; and many other family and friends who will mourn his loss.
General Griffith is welcomed into Heaven by his father L. Jack Griffith and his grandparents.
Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday at McLaren's Chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Iowa Military Aviation Heritage Museum or St. Timothy's Episcopal Church.
Kendall Belz, 52, died doing something he loved, Saturday, August 13, 2011, while flying home from an air show. He was born July 29, 1959, in Des Moines to Glenn and LaRay (Hanawalt) Belz.
He was a boat mechanic since the age of 14, was employed by Water's Edge Marine for 15 years, and was currently working at Camp Dodge as a mechanic. Kendall was actively serving in the National Guard for over 26 years, and spent time oversees in Iraq. He was a board member of the Iowa Military Aviation Heritage Museum in Ankeny, where you could find him every Tuesday working on World War II
airplanes. Kendall was also a motorcycle and dirt bike enthusiast, and long time member of the Mid Iowa Trail Riders Association.
Kendall is survived by his wife of 25 years, Sandy; children, Trent (Sarah Buchholz) Belz and Kendra Belz; brothers Kevin and Kelly Belz; sister, Kristy (Darrell) Henning; mother, LaRay Chapman; as well as many nieces, nephews, and beloved friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Glenn Belz.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m., Friday, August 19, 2011, at Hamilton's near Highland Memory Gardens, 121 NW 60th Avenue, with burial to follow at Highland Memory Gardens Cemetery. Family will greet friends from 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday, August 18, at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family for the support of other Iowa National Guard families in loving memory of Kendall.
Come to our monthly museum meeting. Our monthly meeting is on the third Monday at 7:00 PM of every month except December. (No meetings in December) We have work nights on Tuesday nights. Somebody is usually there at 5:00 PM. Come on out and have some fun! All are welcome!