Mary Oswald Griffitts (April 12, 1920 - June 20, 2010) was born in DeTour Village, Michigan, on the Upper Peninsula. She graduated from University of Michigan in 1941 with a BS in Geology. In 1944 she became the first female to receive a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Colorado. She was a professional geologist, specializing in invertebrate paleontology. She taught at Bryn Mawr and at Univ. of Illinois. She also worked as a ranger naturalist in Yellowstone National Park. In 1946 she was hired at the University of Colorado to teach historical geology and invertebrate paleontology. She married Wallace R. Griffitts on September 7, 1946, and left teaching to raise her family. Mary gave geology talks to schoolchildren throughout Boulder, and helped found the Boulder Junior Natural Sciences School, which later became the Thorne Ecological institute. In 1981 she began to work summers as a paleontologist at Mesa Verde National Park, doing a detailed study of their fossil collection. Over the next 20 plus years she collected and catalogued hundreds of fine fossils and produced a detailed map and several publications for the park, finally retiring at age 83.


To provide support for the Geology department at the University of Colorado Boulder. The family will determine a specific purpose at a later date. 

Mary Griffitts