Joseph Nathaniel Griffith was born on March 30, 1944 to Joseph Allan and Mary-Elizabeth Griffith in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. During his youth, the family moved to Beaver, Pennsylvania. Joseph was the youngest of three boys; John Allan and Ronald James preceding him. His older brother Ronnie who couldn’t pronounce “Nathaniel” affectionately called him “Nahankel” garnering him the nickname “Hank.” He was an intelligent, adventurous athlete who never turned down a challenge. Mary-Elizabeth passed when Hank was 14 leaving Joseph Allan to raise him with the help of Daddy John Nimmey (his maternal grandfather). After high school, Hank went on to follow in his parent’s footsteps to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. During his studies at Howard, Hank established lifelong friendships. He also enjoyed being a member of the Bison crew team. In 1964, Hank was drafted into the Vietnam War. He served two years in the army and was honorably discharged in 1966.
Upon returning to Washington, D.C., Hank met Carolyn Russell. Through their marriage, his first child, Aisha Mary-Elizabeth was born. Later, Hank met D. Dominique (Johari) Carr . Through this union came Olani Hadiya, Ashambei Nimmey-Roots (dec.), and Obika Olatunji.
His entrepreneurial spirit led him to help establish many businesses including Hairlox, Cornicopia and Africorn Health Food Stores. From his time at Howard and through his early adulthood, Hage’ was a soldier for the revolutionary movement.
Always a committed family man, his strong work ethic and love of family led him to his career at the United States Post Office where he worked for over 20 years.
Upon retirement, Hage’ maintained a fervent zest for life through furthering his education, learning to play instruments, maintaining a healthful lifestyle, supporting his children, and enjoying his grandchildren.
As the clock struck midnight on September 11th , Hage’ took his eternal walk with the ancestors.
Hage’ is survived by his wife, Johari Griffith; his children, Aisha, Olani (Eddie Jones), Obika; his grandchildren Ariama Phoebe Fultz and Hadara Charley Jones; his brother John (Patricia); his nieces Pamela, Gail, Jennifer; and a host of other relatives and friends. His parents, his brother Ronnie, and his oldest son, Ashambei, preceded him in death.
His motto was, “Give me flowers while I’m alive.”