Norman Earl Griggs

norman griggs
Norman Earl Griggs, of McLean, Virginia passed away on February 26, 2023, one week shy of his 92nd birthday.

Earl was born on March 6, 1931, the oldest of three children, to Albert Vernon and Katherine Louise Griggs in Richmond, Virginia. He Graduated in 1948 from John Marshall High School where he played several wind instruments in the Cadet Corps Band. Earl attended Virginia Tech one year before entering the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

After graduation in 1953, Earl had a distinguished Naval career that spanned 23 years. He served on the destroyer USS Rowe, submarine USS Tiru, nuclear powered submarines USS Scorpion, USS Robert E Lee, and as the commanding officer of the USS Nautilus, followed by two submarine related jobs at the Pentagon in the offices of the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of Defense. He received a Master of Science in Operations Research from the Naval Post Graduate School. He retired as a Captain in 1976.

Following retirement from the Navy, he attended George Washington University and received a Juris Doctor degree. He had a second distinguished career in law that spanned another 23 years. He was a partner in the law firm, Gabeler, Ward and Griggs/Gabeler, Battocchi and Griggs. He was very involved in the McLean Bar Association, serving one term as President.

Earl and Mary Lou, married almost 68 years, have lived in McLean, Virginia since 1970. They have two daughters, Mary Katherine Rutherford (John), of Annandale, Virginia and Meredith Klein (James), of Vienna, Virginia, seven grandchildren, Jason Rutherford (Megan), Meredith Rhinehart (Randy), Annie Headrick (Paul), Marybeth Klein, Katherine Klein, Sarah Klein, John Klein, and two great-grandchildren, Morgan Rhinehart and Peter Headrick.

Earl and Mary Lou have been members of Trinity United Methodist Church for over 50 years where Earl served in many positions including Chairman of Trustees, Chairman of the Pastor Parish Relations Committee, Youth Coordinator, and a member of the Finance Committee. Earl continued his Navy involvement with his Naval Academy class of 1953 and as Legal Counsel to the Naval Submarine League for 25 years. Their beach house in Point Harbor, NC provided a wonderful place to gather family and friends. He loved playing the harmonica and would play at any event. Earl loved God, his family, his country and the Naval Academy. He represented the kind of man that many aspire to be and was a wonderful role model, loving husband and father, and a treasured friend to many.

Services will be held Monday, March 13, 2023, at 11:00am at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1205 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean, VA 22101. Lunch reception to follow in the fellowship lobby. Internment at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

The service will be live streamed and available on the Trinity United Methodist Church You Tube website

Memorials in his honor may be made to Trinity United Methodist Church.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Earl was a great Commanding Officer of our nation’s first nuclear submarine and Mary Lou was the woman everyone adored. They have been the essence of a Naval couple.

  2. Dear Mary Lou,

    I learned with great sadness of Earl’s recent death. While serving as his Engineer Officer in Nautilus, he provided me with great advice and support and was an inspirational leader for the entire crew.

    Farewell to a fine shipmate and friend – and my condolences to you, Mary Lou, and your family!

    Captain Eduard von Fischer, USNR (Ret.)

  3. Earl was a patient of mine at Pure Chiropractic. There is one memory I would like to share. After leaving the clinic one afternoon, he accidentally dropped his daily planner on his way out. I was leaving the office that evening and saw it was left on the ground. I picked it up and called Earl to tell him I had it. The next day, he came into the clinic to get it. He promptly called me to go into my office with him and prayed over me. That tells you all you need to know about this man. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this time. God Bless.

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