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March 13, 2001



Numerous friends of Denny Griswold and the family of J. Langdon Sullivan, her husband, said they have not been able to contact her since around mid-1995.

Sullivan and Griswold
Langdon Sullivan and Denny Griswold as they appeared around 1970.

Griswold died of a heart attack Feb. 7 in Norwalk hospital, Norwalk, Conn., after a one-day illness.

The death certificate said she died of an acute anterior myocardiac infarction. She would have been 93 March 24.

Ray Gaulke, former president of PR Society of America, said that a committee of three representing PRSA had several meetings with Griswold to discuss turning her four-story townhouse at 127 E. 80th st. into a memorial communications center.

Plans included a PR museum and a training center. A contract was drawn up providing that Griswold would live in the townhouse for the rest of her life.

Griswold's Conn. home
Denny Griswold's former home in Weston, Conn.

Margot Grosvenor of Newport, R.I., stepdaughter of Griswold, said the Sullivan family approved of the gift of the townhouse to PR and also the gift of a number of Colonial antiques to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Grosvenor said the Sullivan family was deeply upset that it was not notified of the death of Griswold by Susan Garrett, the daughter of Griswold's brother, who has been in charge of Griswold since at least 1995. The antiques were in the Sullivan family many years.

The family dates to Colonial times. John Sullivan was a general in the Revolutionary Army and James Sullivan was governor of Massachusetts.

Griswold, the daughter of Frank and Rose Prager, was cremated Feb. 12 at Lakeview Cemetery, Bridgeport, Conn. The death certificate said the maiden name of Griswold's mother was "unobtainable."

Griswold's home address was given as the Wilton Meadows Healthcare Center, Wilton, Conn.

Burson, Budd & Gaulke Held Talks

The PRSA committee members were Gaulke, Harold Burson and John Budd. Gaulke said that Griswold suddenly "disappeared" and he never had contact with her again.

Sullivan family
The Sullivan family gathered at the family cemetery in Durham, N.H. in the summer of 1996. Denny Griswold's husband, Langdon Sullivan, is buried there and Griswold's name is also on the gravestone, "as she had requested it," said a member of the Sullivan family. Instead, Griswold was cremated at a cemetery in Bridgeport, Conn.

A silver tray that had been created memorializing the proposed gift was never given to her. An attempt to deliver the tray to Wilton Meadows, where Griswold became a resident, was unsuccessful, he said.

Numerous other PR people said they were aware of the talks between PRSA and Griswold. New York PR pro Norma Lee said she was visiting with Griswold one day while two men from the Metropolitan Museum were present making a list of items that might be given to the Museum.

Terry Mayer of New York and Wes Pedersen of Washington, D.C., are among many PR pros who said they were unable to contact Griswold since 1995 either by phone or mail.

Some PR pros said they went to Wilton Meadows in an effort to see her but were turned away.

Niece Susan Garrett Took Charge

Griswold came under the care of Garrett and her husband, Russell Garrett, whose address is listed on the death certificate as 501 Westport ave., Norwalk, Conn.

Wilton Meadows
Griswold resided at Wilton Meadows from 1995 until her death Feb. 7.

The local phone company, SNET, said no information was available on phones for either Susan or Russell Garrett. This is the complete absence of a listing rather than a simple "unlisted number," SNET said.

Attempts by the O'Dwyer website, the Sullivan family and friends of Griswold to reach the Garretts in recent days have been unsuccessful.

Russell Garrett told Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter in 1998 that Griswold was "fine physically" but was still recuperating from a broken hip.

A friend of Griswold who called Wilton Meadows at that time said he was told: "The family has asked that no messages go through to her without their approval."

Griswold told many friends she was thinking of donating her $3 million townhouse to the PR field and contracts were drawn up providing this.

Friends said Griswold appeared to be in normal mental health when they last talked to her in 1995.

The townhouse was sold several years ago for a reported $3.2 million.

It is not known what happened to the antiques or all of the papers connected with PR News, which Griswold edited for nearly 50 years.

Langdon Sullivan, who died in 1995 at the age of 92 after a long illness, is survived by two daughters, Diana S. Spenski of Virginia Beach, and Margot S. Grosvenor of Newport, R.I., and a son, James R.O. Sullivan, of Wellesley, Mass.; 12 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.


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