Thursday, November 08, 2007

In Memory of a Triathlete

Many over the world have been following the story of Dorothy Barnett-Griffin who was competing in her first Ironman this past weekend in Florida. She was pulled from the water during the second lap of the swim and rushed to the hospital while her three children watched and husband (also competing) was on the bike course.

Sadly, I post the latest news as given to me by our swim coach:

It is my sad responsibility to be the messenger of unhappy news I never, ever thought I would send.

Dorothy Barnett-Griffin, wife, mother of three, sister, daughter, philanthropist, athlete, friend to hundreds and more of an Ironwoman then all the Ironmen I have ever known, passed from this frail existence today November 8, 2007. Dorothy will be missed.

She was a punctilious pink presence everywhere she went. She opened her heart and her home and her purse to so many. She was a woman of opinions clearly stated and a wit and wisdom equally measured out in ample doses to lift or lead others as needed. She was a magnificent woman.

She was intolerant of fools and incompetence but had a heart so big that she became the epitome to many of faith and hope and charity – but like Paul writing to the Corinthians, charity was her greatest quest. As a result of losing her first husband to a sudden tragic death, she became familiar with and then a huge supporter of the Journey of Hope Grief Support Center in Plano, Texas. In fact she was racing in the Ironman to raise funds for this organization. (For more information see

We honor best not with flowers and cards and well-used expressions of sympathy but by imitating and emulating the worthy life of another. You could do far worse than to follow the admonishment to go and try to be like Dorothy.

Be "Dorothy-Strong!"

On her way into Heaven I can hear her saying as she speedily passes dawdling others shuffling slowly along - just like she did in many a race:

"Girl on your left."

We are diminished greatly by her leaving, we are all magnified for having had her in our lives.

Farewell Dorothy.

Please pray for Mike and Dorothy's kids.

-- Dave Young, Coach, North Texas Masters Swimming

And there is this from Dorothy's best friend:

Upbeat, caring, inspirational, crazy, pink, beautiful, funny, happy, determined, giving, intelligent, great mother, loving wife, and one of our dearest friends. This is how we will remember our Dorothy. Today Dorothy said goodbye to this world and moved on into the hands of the Lord. She left doing what she loved and for a cause she was so passionate. The Journey of Hope .

Her organs were donated so she will save several lives and a part of her will live on within them. Her soul will move on to the Lord where it will be loved and cherished. I'm sure she will have him grinning from ear to ear just as she makes us all smile in her presence. Our prayers focus now on those trying to understand and deal with their loss.

Please pray for Mike, the kids, and all their families during this very difficult time. When I learn more about how we will celebrate her life I will pass that information on to everyone.

Many of you are asking what you can do to help. Once I know more about their plans we can coordinate meals and any other areas where Mike feels they may need assistance. I attached a couple of pictures I thought I would share with you. I will also keep all of you in my prayers as well as I know you are mourning her passing as I am.

Communicating with you has helped support me to deal with this tragic event. Thanks again for all your thoughts and continued prayers.

-- Jodi


Watch a news video by clicking here.


I am fortunate I had the opportunity to train with Dorothy as we were members of the same triathlon team. Although we were only acquaintances I can personally say the words written above about her character were apparent within minutes of our first meeting. Her absence will leave an Ironman-sized void in our small community of athletes. Her spirit and influence will be forgotten by none.

Fare thee well, our teammate... fare thee well.

-- Brian "TriBoomer"


IronJenny said...

I am so sorry, Boomer. That is indeed sad news.
Hugs, Jenny

momo said...

oh, boomer, i am so very sorry for your loss and for the loss of all of dorothy's family and friends.

she sounds like an amazing woman.


Lorinda said...

With all that she has been thru, She is the word HERO. I was a lucky person to have met her and to get to know her. I'm saddend so deeply by her passing.

Brent Buckner said...

Touching tributes all, yours included.

Fare thee well indeed.

21stCenturyMom said...

So sad - so very sad. No one life should be touched by as much tragedy as was hers and her children. I was so sorry to hear this news.

Wendy said...

Absolutely tragic. My sympathies to all who knew her.

Wes said...

A tremendous tribute Brian. Dorothy will indeed be sorely missed.

Anonymous said...

I am Dorothy’s niece and babysitter of her children. I can truly say she is the strongest woman I know and I am so proud to say that I am related to her. I was fortunate enough to transfer to the University of North Texas and live closer to her. She became like a second mother to me, since my mom who is back in Houston and her are such alike. I admired her so much for everything she did. At the age of 42, raising 3 children and running triathlons was incomprehensible to me, but she did it and she did it well. I would watch the children while they ran triathlons on the weekends and I was always excited to hear how they did. She always came home so happy and energized that it inspired me to start running. She gave me a gift certificate a couple weeks ago to get some running shoes and clothes. She said, “You run better when you look good doing it.” I just laughed. That is just one example of her extremely giving heart and I plan on running for her in the White Rock half marathon in December and eventually plan on organizing an Iron Man training group in her honor. As I have been reading the blogs of people that knew her I am in awe. I knew she was an amazing person already, and all the stories I keep reading satisfy that to every sense of the word. I am going to miss her so much. She touched my life so much not just as an Aunt, but as a good friend and an inspirational role model.

kt said...


I am so sorry. My prayers go out to her friends and family, especially her children and husband.

Vickie said...

While an unexpected death is always hard for those left behind to comprehend the reason for such a loss, there is a higher being with a plan for Dorothy. I am sure her good works will continue to live on in others and her message will have far reaching benefits.

Anonymous said...

I am writing this in anger so I probably should know better than to even post this.... I have known Dorothy for 20 years. My husband and John were best friends and we went through many ,many things together. We had our boys as stairsteps and shared many ups and and downs together. We agreed to make sure to take care of each others children if anything happened to any of us. Many years went by and many trips and shared memories went by. I remember getting the call from Dorothy from the side of the road when the terrible accident happened in which John died. The children were all in the car too as well as Johns Mom who later died. Johns father soon died too and the children had to not only go through the loss of their father but the loss of their Grandparents. Dorothy and I are nurses and my husband is a physician so we all knew the importance of trying to heal not only the body but the spirit too. I was very happy to see her get involved with the Journey of Hope. Her children are now having to relive a catastrophe. Dorothy has been involved with training and this sport for the past 2-3 years. I am very happy that she had this as an outlet and I feel that it helped her greatly physically and spiritually. I don't know if you are aware that she and John both struggled pretty much their entire adult lives with weight control. I was always a competitive athlete and involved in regional as well as national level competitions. I also have been a CFT since 1993. Dorothy did try to control her weight through use of a treadmill and stairmaster and I would encourage her to do what she was capable of at the time. She always spoke very kindly of the people she trained with and I am sure that you are caring and compassionate people, but when she told me of plans to do a triathalon my husband and I were very concerned. Decades of struggling with weight and then two years to train for an Ironman? I now have the unenviable position of poring through 20 years of pictures of the children as babies, trips to California, D.C., cruises, Martinique, Vegas, L.A. , life in Houston and many places inbetween to put togther memories for the children because that is all they have left to cling onto of John and Dorothy. I know that John is waiting for Dorothy .

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

I'm really sad to hear about this. She was obviously an amazing person, and she will be dearly missed. I wish I had answers.

I have none.