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Evangel mourns the passing of Dr. Joel Griffin

Published on Oct 29, 2020 by Paul K. Logsdon


Director of jazz studies succumbs to injuries from auto accident


Dr. Joel Griffin
Dr. Joel Griffin

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Evangel University family is mourning the loss of a highly respected faculty member, Dr. Joel Griffin, associate professor of music and director of jazz studies.

Joel passed away on Thursday, October 29, 2020, from injuries sustained one week earlier in an automobile accident in Ozark, Missouri.

He is survived by his wife, Kara, and three children, Sadie, Elam and Harper.

“It was with profound sorrow that I shared with the Evangel family today, our colleague and friend Dr. Joel Griffin has passed away,” said President Carol Taylor, Ph.D.

“He was a gifted and beloved professor, colleague, mentor, and friend to many. Somehow, I imagine that his welcome to eternity included worship music offered via a heavenly jazz orchestra and the presentation of a new saxophone,” she said.

In the music realm, Griffin was a saxophonist, composer and educator. He had been on the professional music scene since 1998 and served as the director of jazz studies at Evangel since 2012.

A native of Southern Missouri, he held a bachelor’s degree in saxophone performance from Missouri Southern State University and a master’s degree in music theory from Missouri State University. He recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education with a research emphasis in jazz studies at Boston University.

In a story last winter upon completing his doctoral degree, Griffin was quick to say his success would not have been possible without the support of his family and his Evangel University colleagues.

“The biggest supporters are my lovely wife, Kara, and our three beautiful children,” he said with pride.