Family mourns death of another 'caring and bubbly' son

By Victoria White -
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AT PEACE: Family are remembering the "caring," and "bubbly" Logan Griffith (right), pictured with his daughter Benji-Rose (pictured).PHOTO/SUPPLIED
AT PEACE: Family are remembering the "caring," and "bubbly" Logan Griffith (right), pictured with his daughter Benji-Rose (pictured).PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A family recovering after the sudden death of one son have been dealt another tragic blow, after his brother was killed in a crash.

Last week Logan Griffith, 33, was killed after his motorcycle crashed on State Highway 5 near the Te Haroto summit. He had been returning home to Taupo after attending the Hastings funeral of a fellow motorcyclist, killed the week before near Tokoroa.

Now, those closest to him - including his blended family of five children - are trying to come to terms with the passing of a man described as "caring", "bubbly", and with "the goofiest laugh".

His mother Krysta de Kahn said her son would "do anything for anybody", and was "a blessing".

The father of five grew up in Taupo, but lived in Hawke's Bay for several years. He had just moved back to Taupo this year.

While Mr Griffith wasn't always the best behaved, his mother said "he'd always make sure everyone was alright, that was my Logi".

"[Logan] had goals. He was building his life, he was just getting everything sorted."

The former forestry worker had been passionate about martial arts - earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do at 11 - and had loved training others in martial arts and volunteering with other sports.

Mr Griffith's caring nature was highlighted by an incident five years ago, she said, when he was injured in a forestry accident but refused to rest as his mother was going through chemotherapy.

"He shouldn't have gotten out of bed but he knew I was having chemo, he supported me right through my breast cancer," she said.

Family was most important to Logan, who had been very close with his grandfather Lloyd, and his father Neil.

For his family, losing a son was a pain they knew all too well. It was just 10 months ago that they farewelled Logan's only sibling, Ben Griffith, who died suddenly in June, 2016.

Ms De Kahn said it was hard dealing with the loss of both her children in such a short space of time, but she felt closure that her sons were "together again".

"[Logan] did make a comment when Ben died, he said 'Mum, I thought I was holding it together for Ben, but I realised he was holding me together'," she said.

Logan's partner Amy te Wake said he had struggled with the passing of his brother, but after their daughter - named Benji-Rose - was born eight months ago "it was sort of like he got his missing piece back".

The two had been together since 2015. As well as Benji-Rose, Mr Griffith had two other children who still lived in Hawke's Bay, aged 12 and 13, and was a stepfather to Amy's two children, 3 and 5.

She said Logan had been a "truly loving partner and father".

"I couldn't fault him on anything. He was just honest, hardworking, supportive of his family, he always put us first before anything else," she said. "His kids were his world. [He loved] playing with his kids, spending time with his kids, he loved his children."

Ms Te Wake said motorbikes been Mr Griffith's other passion. The bike he had been riding when he crashed was his new Harley Davidson Super Glide, which "he'd been wanting for quite some time".

She was still coming to terms with his passing, which felt "surreal".

"Me and the kids, we waved him off, he went off on his bike. When you say goodbye to someone you just expect that they're going to come home," she said.

"To have a call that he's come off his bike, you think 'ok we'll get to the hospital' and then to find out that he's gone, it was the worst thing. I can't put words to explain how horrible that is."

Mr Griffith's funeral was held on Wednesday - less than a week after the friend's funeral he was returning home from when he was killed.

On Friday April 21, 59-year-old Steven Ward, of Hastings, was killed alongside another motorcyclist after their bikes collided on State Highway 1 near Tokoroa.

Both men died at the scene. Mr Ward's funeral had been held on Wednesday. Mr Griffith had stayed in Hawke's Bay, before returning to Taupo on Thursday.

It was at Mr Ward's funeral that Hastings resident Adrian Pritchard last saw Mr Griffith.

"At the funeral I said to Logan, 'the first person I thought of when I heard about Steve, was I hoped you were all good Logan'," he said. "And then a week later, this has happened to Logan. A week later we were going to Logan's funeral."

Mr Pritchard had delivered the funeral service for Logan - who was a "little guy but with a big heart".

"It was an honour, but it was hard," he said of giving the service. "He was a damn good guy, this is just totally wrong."

He had known Mr Griffith for the past five years, but had become more involved with his family recently.

"I was his boss for a little while and he did his community hours under me. Just before Christmas he actually finished all his community hours and in that time we built a strong relationship up".

Mr Pritchard said Logan had been "a tough fella", who was straightforward, very bubbly, and easy to get along with.

"There's a lot of questions of why he's left us but its one of those questions that will never be answered."

Mr Griffith was one of four people to die on Hawke's Bay's roads during April.

He, and two other people were killed in a grim eight day period. Already this year 11 people have been killed on roads in the Hawke's Bay and Tararua areas - the highest total at this point in a year since 2010.

-A Givealittle page has been started to raise funds for Logan's family, and cover his funeral expenses. To donate go to givealittle.co.nz/cause/helplogansfamily

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