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Please join your MMA in mourning the passing of "Griz"

Published on 6/14/2015

Please join your MMA in mourning the passing of "Griz"

Although we know many in our movement who are known by a single name, Griz (Eugene Stevens Griswold) was one of those rare people who when you mentioned the name, everyone knew immediate of whom you were speaking, and knew him fondly. Griz left our plane of existence suddenly this past Thursday, June 11, 2015, no doubt to ride with those who’ve gone before him, and he will be sorely missed.

"Griz" in a happier moment at the MMA's 2011 Holiday Party 

At age 65, Griz was full of life and vigor. Known by most as “Santa Griz”, he enjoyed life to its fullest, and spent most of the year riding and looking forward to winter, when he could once again don his Santa suit for the many events, parties, and charities, at which he would stare with a characteristic twinkle in his eye into those of some awed child.

Griz was a truly patriotic US Navy Veteran, who brought that gusto to the motorcycling community and the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association. Beginning in the days of the Modified Motorcycle Association of Massachusetts, Griz served as District IV Manager and in several other capacities before becoming Chairman, just before the MMA merged with ABATE of Massachusetts into the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association. Even after stepping down from his post, he continued to serve the MMA as Hampden County Representative for a number of years.

For his years of dedication and service to the Motorcyclists of Massachusetts, Griz was also the very first recipient of the MMA’s distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award, a distinction that will continue beyond his passing.

Bruce Arsenault, former MMA Vice Chairman, remembered Griz as “one of those guys that made everyone around him a better and happier person. Anything he put his mind to he accomplished well and did it in a contagious manner. When his tenure was up as the Chairman of the MMA he still stepped up, to fill a void, left vacant as the Hamden County Representative for the MMA until he could find and properly train a replacement. Upon his stepping down he simply stated, ‘I have to trust they will do the best they can. It is in their hands now.’ I for one will miss him greatly and am thankful for having known him and for the good times we had together.”

Past MMA Board Member Lou Petrucci also noted, “Every once and a while as we go thru this journey of life, especially in the motorcycle rights movement we have the honor of meeting someone special. A friend. A person of the same principals. An all-around good person. And then in the blink of an eye they are gone. Griz was and always will be such a person to me. Rest in peace brother. You will be missed.”

Dave Condon, MMA Chairman added, “I think a lot of people that knew Griz well knew him best for his portrayal of Santa Claus during the Christmas season at every one of his friends’ Christmas parties and family gatherings, he accomplished this better than the jolly old elf himself, with his love and kindness. What I don't think most people realize was his hard work and dedication to the riders of this state for so many years not only as a board member and Chairman but also as a county representative. He served the riders of this state in the same manner. His attention to detail, hard work, passion, and commitment made Massachusetts a better place to ride for all. We lost one of the great ones and he will be sorely missed. Rest in peace my friend and ride free.”

Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, June 16 from 4 -7 p.m. at Beers and Story Funeral Home, 1475 N. Main St, (Rte.20) in Palmer, MA, with details of the procession to and funeral to be posted later. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Rays of Hope: or The Make A Wish Foundation. Additionally, you can donate blood in his honor.

The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association extends its deepest sympathies and condolences to everyone who knew Griz, but especially his family. We, as an organization, and we as riders, are all better for his having touched our lives. May he continue to ride with the wind at his back, and the sun over his head.


©2015 Massachusetts Motorcycle Association