Douglas Marsh Griswold


Died October 5, 1993

College: Davenport

Widow: Mrs. Douglas M. Griswold
P.O. Box 269
Andover, CT 06232

Children: Gregory; Mark
Grandchildren: Grant; Brooke; Sophia; Douglas

Douglas Marsh Griswold, member of an old Connecticut and Yale family, orthopedic surgeon, and accomplished singer, died in 1993 at 54.

“Old ‘n’” Griswold was a great bass in Yale’s strong singing tradition. Member of the Freshman Glee Club and the Baker’s Dozen, he was a shoo-in for the Whiffenpoofs: his father, “Pitchpipe” Griswold ’34, and four uncles were Whiffs! Class members must hear on the ’61 Whiffs’ CD, Doug’s memorable “Without A Song.” Second of four brothers—Sloane, Peter and Timothy survive him—Doug came from a large and close-knit family which lives and/or summers on Griswold Point in Old Lyme, CT. He stood out in family square dancing, and group and barbershop quartet singing, often in happy competition with the family’s Bingham cousins, including fellow Whiff John (“No Stop”) Bingham. Doug was an avid sailor and skier.

In the summer after graduation, Doug toured ten Latin American countries with the Yale Glee Club. In mid-tour in Argentina his father’s succinct telegram advised of Doug’s acceptance at Boston University Medical School: UWANNABEADOC? Following the Glee Club tour, Doug, fellow Whiff William Veale and William’s brother-in-law motorcycled from Connecticut to Mexico City and Acapulco and back. After receiving his MD, Doug did a two-year internship at Hartford Hospital, then served two years in the U.S. Navy. He returned to Yale for his residency in orthopedics and joined the faculty at Yale Medical School. He practiced with a group of surgeons and was Chief of Staff at Windham Hospital in Willimantic, CT until he suffered a stroke in 1992, the year before his death.

Doug married Martha McGee in 1964; during their ten-year marriage they had two children, Gregory and Mark. There are four grandchildren: Gregory and Jennifer have Grant and Brooke; Mark and Lorianne have Sophia and Douglas. After divorce from Martha, Doug was married to Patricia Terry and later to Joanna Gasper Griswold.

At the 25th Reunion in 1986, the then-surviving 12 members of the Whiffenpoofs—Walter (“Nickelo”) Dionne had died in 1968—sang together. Doug sounded as beautiful as ever, perhaps even better, with a more mature and experienced voice. Singing solo, he accompanied himself on the guitar. Jamie (“Stakin’”) McLane’s son Ben remembers sitting under an elm tree on Old Campus singing with Doug till dawn. Doug led singing and remained active in music throughout his life.

Pancreatic cancer brought death on 5th October 1993. At his funeral one of the Whiffenpoofs of 1961 who attended quoted Doug’s signature solo:

Without a song, the day would never end.

Without a song, the road would never bend.

When things go wrong, a man ain’t got a friend

Without a song.

Then, with Doug’s father and three uncles, all Whiffs, the ’61 Whiffs sang “The Whiffenpoof Song.” There was a space in the group’s lineup for Doug, like the space for a lost plane in a military formation. It seemed unnatural for parents and uncles to be attending the funeral of a son and nephew, and especially sad.

—by William W. B. Veale