Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Longtime manager of Liberty Hall dies

November 14, 2005

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Lawrence has lost a key figure in its downtown entertainment scene.

Tim Griffith, 50, longtime employee and manager at Liberty Hall, 642 Mass., died Thursday at his home from heart failure.

On Sunday, stunned employees at the hall were still trying to deal with Griffith's death and the realization they would never see him again.

"It's been pretty hard," said Gennelle Denneny, who manages the concession stand. "We've been friends for a long time. People have had a hard time dealing with this."

Doug Redding, manager of the hall's video store, said Griffith inspired loyalty among his employees because they knew he would always back them up.

"He wasn't always the easiest person to work for, but he was always the easiest person to love," Redding said. "He's someone I'm proud to have known."

Griffith began working at the hall in the early 1970s when it was known as the Lawrence Opera House. As the venue's general manager he was responsible for all operations and employees in the video store and movie theater, as well as for booking music and wedding events.

He usually walked to work, and to those who knew the downtown scene, he was the face of Liberty Hall.

"He knew everything there was to know about Liberty Hall," Denneny said. "He knew little things about everyone and he would ask about you."

Denneny also recalled how Griffith found out that an employee's mother was in the hospital and sent flowers to her. It was that kind of generosity that other employees also remembered.

"He was the first boss I ever had who bought me dinner, and he did it on a regular basis," said Matt Toplikar, who noted that Griffith bought dinner for other employees, too.

"He was a very private person and didn't talk about himself, but he always asked about you," Toplikar said.

Kristen Soper also was struck by Griffith's generosity. He was willing to lend employees money if they were coming up short at the end of the month. "All you had to do was ask," she said.

"Everybody always knew him," Soper said. "People were always asking about him. Everybody I talked to knew him."

Cards are on a table near the hall's concession stand for people to sign or write a sympathy note concerning Griffith. Griffith will be cremated; no formal public service is scheduled at this time.

Liberty Hall employees said a celebration of his life would take place later, probably in December; details will be announced later.

Comments

bullfrogj3 11 years, 5 months ago

I knew him well. This is a very sad day indeed. R.I.P. Tim, this town won't be the same without you.

John Spencer 11 years, 5 months ago

He was always really cool, he let me in to see the Boom Town rats when the show was sold out, cause he knew I really wanted to see them and couldn't afford it. He would always stop and see how you were, and he would remember what seems like everything you had ever talked about.
Bye Tim.

cutny 11 years, 5 months ago

What a great guy, fair and friendly. Rest in Peace, Tim

SAHM2tylrnathan 11 years, 5 months ago

Tim played a big part in the best night of my life so far--my wedding reception in 1994. Tim made sure things were just right for us and that we had no worries about using Liberty Hall for our special night. It's rare these days to find somebody who cares that much about customers. Although we don't get to Lawrence much anymore, I always figured I would see Tim somewhere downtown when we did get there. My heart goes out to his friends, family and employees. Donna Kirk-Swaffar, Rossville

Jamesaust 11 years, 5 months ago

Watching Tim in action over the years with the employees was inspiring. Tim never lost sight of the overall goal of getting business done but took a laid back, friendly route in getting there. Tim was a perfect example of a person who works behind the scenes to ensure that things happen. Lawrence will be a lesser place without him.

kansanliz 11 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence has lost a very special man. Even when he was upset or down, he made sure that everyone else was taken care of.

Even when I had not seen him for several months, I knew that I would get a big smile and a warm welcome -- he was one of the most inclusive people I have ever met.

Tim, I will miss you. I'm proud to have known you.

spikey_mcmarbles 11 years, 5 months ago

Was he the long haired guy in the baseball cap who walked with a limp?

armywife 11 years, 5 months ago

I grew up in Lawrence and would go to all the shows from the Outhouse ( before it was a strip club ) , The Bottleneck and good ol Liberty Hall. Tim was by far the nicest manager of the 3 and would totally go that extra mile. He is definitely a Lawrence icon ( in my book ) I agree with Marion, Tim should have something dedicated in his honor. Liberty Hall and Tim are like PB&J, Tim I'm sure where ever you are, you're bringing the house down. Rest In Peace. Lisa

Richard Heckler 11 years, 5 months ago

Not only was he good to individuals but was also a great friend to the Community Mercantile. Tim was not afraid to share.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

He was also very generous with the Liberty Hall facilities to charitible groups for various fundraisers-- some of them were fringe enough that they probably couldn't find other venues, but Tim was more than willing to say yes to a good cause.

gutenberg 11 years, 5 months ago

Tim was an extra-ordinary good guy. Long live memories of you, friend. The good, they die young. Peace be with you and say hi to Jerry Garcia for all of us. We'll look for you backstage when we get there, too.

AWhitebread 11 years, 5 months ago

Tim was my first boss ever. When I was just a little skate-punk he gave me a job setting up chairs and other odd jobs. I was reacquainted with Tim years later as an employee of Free State and he still remembered me and would also talk sports with me. He will be sorely missed and talking about the Royals or the Jayhawks will not be quite the same.

Rick Aldrich 11 years, 5 months ago

tim's been a well know figure in the downtown area for years, and a joy to visit with. he will be sadly missed. RIP tim.

pikachu 11 years, 5 months ago

I had only spoken and worked around Tim a few times at Liberty Hall. When I was there though, he went out of his way to be extra kind and make sure I was more than comfortable. That and his overly kind nature left a big impression on my soul. It's not often that you meet people like him. When you do, you know you will remember them for a lifetime. Tim, you are one that will be missed by many. Peace be with you. Glad to have met you, truly.

bullfrogj3 11 years, 5 months ago

Some of us at The Hall are thinking of renaming the big theater. We want to change it to Griffith Auditorium. What do y'all think?

Gin 11 years, 5 months ago

It would be difficult to imagine Lawrence without Liberty Hall and it's so hard to think of Liberty Hall without Tim. He was such a great supporter of everthing uniquely downtown Lawrence. Thanks for all you did, Tim. And thanks for being Tim.

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