Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Remember Remus? Come Tell Your Tale

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Remember Remus? Come Tell Your Tale

Article excerpt

ARCADIA: Tribute planned to a man who squeezed a lot of living into 54 years

Got any stories, crazy or otherwise, about the late Remus Griffin? Your presence is required in Arcadia on Sunday afternoon for a tribute.

Raconteur, scofflaw, cattle trucker, social justice crusader and award-winning photographer who shot everything from monster trucks to "My Big Redneck Wedding" for CMT, Griffin died from cancer in December at age 54.

As the public tribute to one of Arcadia's most spirited characters draws closer, the event organizer anticipates the "Celebration of Life" will draw friends and acquaintances from throughout the state and elsewhere.

"Remus touched so many people, in so many different ways, I'd like to meet them and get them on the record," said Donna Baggott, whose Remusfest begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at Desoto Veterans Memorial Park. "I'm looking for stories, photos, memories -- anything you can think of. He has some grandsons who never got to know him very well."

Griffin had a checkered past with the law but staked his claim to immortality in Desoto County by swiping concealed evidence from a prosecutor's office that would eventually clear wrongly accused James Richardson in the 1967 murders of eight family members.

Griffin also pressed for answers in the missing-child mystery of Pilar Rodriguez, as well as in the beatings and deaths of children inside the notorious Florida School for Boys, which had facilities in Okeechobee as well as Marianna.

Baggott, who knew Griffin for the last five or so years of his life, described him as "a man of mystery who did whatever it took to get justice for people who couldn't. And he never wanted to be patted on the back for any of it."

Fighting bulls

Separating the fiction from the fact of Griffin's tale would be a chore for anybody, as he admitted in a 2011 online ramble about cattle truckers:

"There ain't much we ain't done, and if we ain't done it, then by golly we were there and we seen it done, and in some cases, when we wanted to stand out ahead of the rest of the herd of cow truckers, we lied about it, just flat out lied and said that we were there, saw it done and know the hand that did it, if we didn't go as far as to say we did it ourselves. …

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