Sara Elizabeth Griffith, the longtime resident of Lantern Cottage, Hot Springs, Virginia, passed away, Monday, December 25, 2023, at her residence on Shady Lane. She was born January 23, 1936, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Frank Griffith and Atha Marshall Griffith.
Ms. Griffith graduated from Chatham College in Pittsburgh in 1955, the same year she married B. S. Chandrasekhar, a Rhodes Scholar physicist originally from Bangalore, India. For over a decade she owned and operated Design Corner, a boutique in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where she and her husband had relocated following their marriage. At Design Corner she cultivated and honed her interior decorating style and taste. She dedicated many years in Cleveland Heights to raising her two sons, encouraging them to get the best education.
In 1979, she divorced Mr. Chandrasekhar and married attorney Bill Klein in New York City, where she lived for over a decade. She split her time between the City and Buck Hill Falls, Pennsylvania, where she bought and renovated two classic, shingle-style houses. Her New York years were happy and busy, filled with culture and friends; she regularly hosted groups of her sons’ friends visiting from boarding school or university.
Following her divorce from Mr. Klein, Ms. Griffith moved to Southwestern Virginia, ultimately settling in Hot Springs in 1991. During her more than three decades living in The Lantern Cottage, she renovated it from basement to attic and put her personal touch into every aspect of the house – particularly the garden, which she personally tended with love all year long. She hosted family and dozens of friends throughout her Lantern Cottage years; her beloved grandsons spent extended periods visiting her during their summer vacations.
To quench her thirst for knowledge, she took online university courses and closely followed current events in the world, about which she expressed great distress in her last phone conversation with her older grandson Boaz. She participated in political meetings as a supporter of the Bath County Democratic Committee. Ms. Griffith was a lifelong reader and devoted to the Bath County Library; a mere two weeks before her death, she discussed the books of Yuval Noah Harari on the phone with her younger grandson, Adlai. A classical music enthusiast, Ms. Griffith relished opportunities to hear chamber music at nearby Garth Newel as well as in private performances in her own home.
She greatly enjoyed the beautiful countryside of Bath County and until recently walked long distances on the trails around Hot Springs – undeterred by her several encounters with bears. Ms. Griffith remained independent until the very end, and it is fitting that she passed away in the home that she loved so much.
Ms. Griffith is survived by her two sons, Ashok Chandrasekhar and his wife Désirée Baron, and Jai Chandrasekhar; her two grandsons, Boaz Chandrasekhar and Adlai Chandrasekhar; and her brother Norman Roth and his wife Ellen. Throughout Ms. Griffith’s life, she maintained close relations with her first husband’s extended family in India, London, and the United States.
In keeping with Ms. Griffith’s wishes, a private memorial will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Bath County Public Library, 96 Courthouse Hill Road, Warm Springs, Virginia 24484; or to Garth Newel Music Center, 403 Garth Newel Lane, Hot Springs, VA 24445.