Leonard Griggs, former Lambert Airport director, dies at 92

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ST. LOUIS – Leonard Griggs, a former Air Force colonel and longtime director of the St. Louis Lambert International Airport, died earlier this week at the age of 92.

Griggs served as the airport director in nearly two decade-long terms from 1977 to 1987 and 1993 to 2004, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, current Lambert airport director, tells FOX 2 that Griggs had a significant impact on the operations and federal funding of the airport.

“Over the two decades he was there, he fought in Washington for every federal dollar that was there, and it was for the betterment of the airport,” said Hamm-Niebruegge. “He really fought to make sure that impact was as best as it could possibly be.”

Griggs was one of several airport leaders during the time Lambert Airport pushed for growth through a billion-dollar runway known as W1W. Those plans were met with some local opposition, however, leading to nearly 2,000 homes and businesses being forced out of the City of Bridgeton into the early 2000s.

In the present day, the airport is preparing for a wave of construction projects and expects one of its busiest Thanksgiving travel weekends in recent history. Hamm-Niebruegge says Griggs laid the foundation for this modern era of growth.

“He put together a really dedicated team that knew the airport, understood the airport, regulations and how critical safety was,” said Hamm-Niebruegge. “He was very impactful and engaging with the community to make sure they understood the importance of the airport. At the end of the day, his heart was always for the betterment of the airport.”

Griggs is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served 23 years in the United States Air Force, retiring with the rank of Colonel in 1977, according to his memorial page.

The page also says a memorial gathering and funeral services for Griggs are set for Dec. 5.


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