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Gryphon Thomas Metcalf

June 6, 2020


Our beloved Gryphon, departed this world on Saturday, June 6, 2020, at the age of 18.

Gryphon was born to Olivia Heiken and Thomas Metcalf in Dubuque, Iowa on March 22, 2002. As a child, Gryphon spent his early childhood living in Galena. He would dress up in rainboots and a toy sword to walk his sisters to school, proudly becoming their "keeping-safe-guy," a role he continued to fill as they all grew. He also participated in the American Civil War reenactments, where he educated the public on the history of the era.

As a graduating senior at Hempstead High School, Gryphon was known by everyone as “Papa Bear,” and someone to go to for advice and motivation across niches and social groups, crossing all barriers to bring people together. Gryphon had a gift for seeing people’s unique core, and always knew what they needed to hear and how to make them feel safe and seen. Gryphon loved minecraft, fishing and poker, and would often organize game nights with his friends.

During his senior year at Hempstead, Gryphon completed his CNA and worked at the Bethany Home, where he was beloved by everyone, and gave each resident a nickname. A natural protector, Gryphon was incredibly dedicated to the safety of all the residents during the Covid-19 outbreak, picking up extra shifts and going above and beyond with social distancing practices to make sure everyone was safe.

After graduating Hempstead this June, Gryphon had planned to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology and then a career at the FBI. He had already jumpstarted his college education by reading textbooks, and had fallen in love with the study of psychology and sociology. At Hempstead, Gryphon played Varsity football as a lineman. He was often found at the YMCA working on his UPA powerlifting and making friends in the weightroom. 

Along with his parents Olivia and Thomas, Gryphon will be forever loved and missed by his sisters Isabella and Chloe; grandparents Bill and Wendy Heiken; grandmother Cheri Scanlon, as well as numerous extended family members, friends and loved ones.

A celebration of life will take place on Friday, June 12 from 1-5 pm at the Novelty Iron Works (333 E. 10th St., Dubuque, Iowa). Due to Covid-19 and for everyone’s safety, social distancing and other safety measures will be in place. A burial ceremony will be held on Tuesday, June 16 at 10:30 am, at the Natural Path Sanctuary in Verona, Wisconsin (2299 Spring Rose Road, Verona, Wisconsin). Parking is limited to 20 vehicles total, and attending the ceremony will require a short hike through the woods. Should you decide to make the journey, please check the website for details in advance ( In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Gryphon Metcalf Memorial Fund. Please contact about donating. More information will be available at the celebration of life on Friday.

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