Michael Ralph Griffith was born March 8, 1949 in Baker to Ralph and Margaret (Beadle) Griffith.
Posted November 28, 2012
Michael Ralph Griffith was born March 8, 1949 in Baker to Ralph and Margaret (Beadle) Griffith. He came home to four loving big sisters (Sally, Mary Lou, Keitha, and Donna) who all just spoiled him as much as they could. At the age of 18 months, Mike contracted polio. Two of his older sisters also had polio, but to a lesser degree. Over the years, Mike had several surgeries, none of which ever stopped him from playing sports or going everywhere with his friends. During that time, Mike was blessed with a baby sister (Gay). Mike is thinking – wow, I’m out numbered five to one! God was truly preparing Mike for something big in future years to come.
Mike had many fond memories and lots of stories during his childhood years, many of which he has shared with family, friends and most recently as life lessons with his grandchildren. His high school days were no different. Mike loved his class of ‘67 classmates and this past year had organized a reunion in which he was able to renew old friendships, something he really cherished. After graduating in 1967, Mike went south with the O’Connors combining, an experience and adventure he really enjoyed. Once back, it was off to college in Billings for three years, then took a position in the insurance business with Clyde Burns and soon changed jobs and began what was to be the beginning of a true passion for Mike – working in the trucking industry. He started out with Bee Line then on to Western Trucking.
Things then became even more interesting as Mike met the love of his life, his soulmate, Anna Halmans Petesch. Anna had a beautiful little boy named Matthew Thomas and Mike’s big heart was soon in love with them both. Mike and Anna were married in 1978. Mike adopted Matt and they struck out in a new life together as one. Shortly thereafter, another son was born, Patrick George. As Mike put it, “Life is good”, I’m so blessed.
Now being that Mike’s passion was for trucking, he and Anna discussed taking a huge step and in 1985 they partnered with Al and Mark Heller to form Quality Transportation, Inc. From there they added a brokerage company known as Q.T., Inc. They are a 48 state carrier that Mike’s leased owner operators haul flatbed freight to all over the country, and at times even into Canada. Their success was built on a dream and very dedicated hard work – Mike at the helm night and day and Anna close by his side. As they say in the movies, “Now for the rest of the story”. Remember back when Mike realized he was out-numbered by his five sisters. Well, God was just preparing his heart on how to be patient, caring, understanding, compassionate, etc. as over the years Mike has had only six male employees including himself, all the rest are his great staff of ladies including Anna. The Lord truly does have a sense of humor!
Mike and Anna had many memorable trips, maybe the biggest traveling through the Panama Canal. They were usually accompanied on those vacations by close friends Kenny, Karen, Jack and Claudine, and many others. Yes, there were always plenty of special stories as only Mike could tell them as he laughed so hard it would bring him to tears.
Mike and Anna have spent all of their years together running the business in Baker with a satellite office in Rapid City.
The boys have now married their soulmates: Matthew (Amanda Groshans) who have a son Gavin; and Patrick (Angel Roberts) who have a son Micaiah and two daughters Paisley and little Shaylie who they adopted. Both sons are involved in different parts of the business.
Mike has been a member of the American Lutheran Church for a number of years, also a member of Motor Carriers of Montana (serving as a past president), South Dakota Trucking Association, American Trucking Association, board member of the FMC Foundation, Baker Chamber of Commerce, and the Baker Lions Club – serving the community in many capacities.
Mike lived his life with all his heart. His generosity was endless, his kindness and compassion for all was overwhelming, and he always put others first: God, family, friends, employees and owner operators (who were treated as family), customers and the entire community and trucking nation. Mike has touched the hearts of many, just how many will never be known. Mike was a blessing from God to all of us. He has truly blessed us all in many different ways. We all love you Mike and we know you are another angel watching over us all! Mike passed away Nov. 19, 2012 at his home in Baker.
Mike is survived by his wife of 34 years, Anna Griffith, of Baker; sons Matthew (Amanda) Griffith and son Gavin of Bozeman; and Patrick (Angel) and son Micaiah, daughters Paisley and Shaylie of Rapid City; sisters: Sally Schuetzle of Boise, Idaho, Mary Lou (Robert) Stanhope of Wellington, Nev., Keitha Thompson of Farmington, N.M., Donna (Leslie) Crow of Baker, and Margaret Gay (Glenn) Rost of Black Hawk, S.D.; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and aunts.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Margaret and Ralph Griffith; grandparents George and Elsie Griffith; mother and father-in-law George and Bernace Halmans; and brother-in-law Bill Halmans.
A prayer service was held at Stevenson Funeral Home Nov. 23, 2012. Funeral services were held Nov. 24 at the American Lutheran Church in Baker. Interment was in the Bonnievale Cemetery in Baker.
All of Quality’s past and present employees, family, operators, and many friends were considered as honorary pallbearers.
Donations can be made in honor of Mike to the MCM (Motor Carriers of Montana) scholarship fund or to the American Lutheran Church.