Maddie Griffiths Memorial Award


Maddie's spirit of generosity lives on with the Maddie Griffiths Memorial Award

Maddie's Story

Madalyn Faye Griffiths, known to most as Maddie, entered and exited the world unexpectedly, but in her all too brief time with us, she shined brightly and beautifully. 

A surprise addition, Maddie was born to Kimberly and Rodger Griffiths on May 28, 1999, joining three older sisters: Melissa, Meghann and Michele, at the time 13, 11 and 5 respectively. All with M names and all with seven letters, it would become a normal occurrence to hear all four names rattled off in various orders before landing on the intended, possibly for some sort of reprimand. 

Her birth was early and also a bit unexpected — she was setting a certain standard early — and she was a tiny thing, just 5 lbs. 1 oz. The Shakespearean quote  “Though she be but little, she is fierce” could have been written about her, as would be backed up by abundant evidence throughout her life. 

Maddie was your classic youngest child: doted on, adored and often getting away with some mischief that her older siblings would claim they’d never have gotten away with. She was a little late to walk because she had only to fuss and someone would pick her up or get her what she wanted, but after that, she wanted nothing but to grow up and catch up with her big sisters. 

Before she could have her own big adventures, she would make them up, like her imaginary boyfriend, Kelson, who was raised by wolves after his family was killed in a forest fire. 

As soon as she was old enough, she was more than ready to take on anything Michele was doing first. She would tag along with Michele while she cared for her sheep and started doing PeeWee shows the moment she was of age. Maddie was appalled that everyone got a prize and that she wasn’t placed like the bigger kids and didn’t get feedback from the judge on how to improve. 

Maddie stuck with it and was a formidable competitor in 4-H, FFA, and open class, winning awards for her livestock, showmanship, livestock judging and even public speaking. She earned the highest honor bestowed by the FFA, the American Degree, earned only by the top one percent of all FFA members. Maddie was a hard worker, but is remembered just as well for generously sharing her knowledge and making moments outside the ring full of fun. Even after she stopped competing herself, she coached kids for livestock showmanship and taught livestock care and feeding.

Her pursuit of a college degree in the field of agriculture was interrupted by the pandemic, which allowed her a time of unstructured exploration and personal growth. She worked with animals and people, she made time for fun and adventure and she devoted time to her own betterment. She filled her time and made the most of each and every moment. 

Her final adventure was road-tripping to Texas, fulfilling a dream of swimming in the warm gulf waters.

She was killed in a car accident on June 18, 2022, outside of Tucson, Arizona.

It’s impossible to find sense in a life cut too short, but we can take some solace in knowing her final days were spent experiencing life fully and joyfully. 

There was so much ahead of her in life. She was known to all as loyal, quirky, dedicated, vibrant, passionate and perhaps a little dramatic. She was all in, never half-assed — she was a whole-ass kind of girl and everyone had high expectations for her to have a whole-ass kind of life. 

We honor Maddie as we believe she would have liked to be honored, by letting her shine bright in our hearts and minds, by celebrating her impact on us and committing to living whole-ass, joyful, generous lives.

Maddie Griffiths Memorial Award

The Maddie Griffiths Memorial Award is intended for individuals who share qualities her peers in 4-H and FFA noticed and loved about her. Maddie was incredibly passionate about the livestock industry, talented, competitive and, while so driven to succeed in her own endeavors, she also loved to help and cheer on others as they found success.

The scholarship award was initially spearheaded by Maddie's friend and longtime competitor, Jessica Juvinall, who started a GoFundMe campaign that quickly exceeded its initial goal. 

When the fund surpassed $10,000, it became obvious the generosity of Maddie's community could support a fund that would allow her spirit of generosity to live on in perpetuity, continuing to provide help and support to 4H and FFA members.

At the 2022 Deschutes County Fair, a hog was donated by a 4-H/FFA family and sold at auction with the proceeds donated to Maddie's Memorial Scholarship Fund. Almost immediately two more pigs from two more families were donated, then the original pig was re-donated and were all auctioned, with many more adding on, the proceeds came to more than $80,000 donated. Then February, 2023, a lamb was auctioned off at the FFA "I Believe Dinner" that brought in almost $22,000 adding to the already healthy fund to provide awards for years to come.

Donations may be mailed to:

The Maddie Griffiths Memorial Scholarship Fund
C/O Deschutes County, 4-H and FFA Junior Livestock Auction Association
3800 SW Airport Way
Redmond, OR 97756

Remembering Maddie

Family and friends gathered in nature in July of 2022 to share memories and healing words. The memorial was live streamed and is available to view below. Thank you to all who were able to join us in person or online.