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Obituary for Walter S Gifford Jr.
Walter Sheldon Gifford, Jr. died peacefully in front of a warm fire surrounded by loving family members at his home called Rocky River on the morning of April 3rd, 2018. He was born August 8th, 1929 in Schenectady to Walter Sheldon Gifford and Katherine Peck Gifford. He graduated in 1948 from The Albany Academy and went to the University of Virginia for Engineering. For a summer job he worked on the McMichael’s beef farm in Scotia, which fostered his love of agriculture. Afterwards, he received his bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry at the University of Massachusetts in 1954. He married Mary Lee Everett from Belmont, MA on August 29th, 1953. Together they owned Oronacah Farm on Vischer’s Ferry Road in Elnora, NY. In 1963, they sold their dairy operation and started raising grains, such as wheat and corn. At its height, the grain business constituted 2100 acres. Later, they added a “Pick-Your-Own” berry business. There was a retail stand on their farm and all members of the family participated.
Many unique and clever wooden structures, which he designed and constructed on his properties in Elnora and Martha’s Vineyard, will be part of his legacy. His last major project completed in his late seventies was the comprehensive re-modeling and updating of his home in Lyndeborough, which included an expanded garage with an apartment above a state-of-the-art wood shop. He was a builder, not only of buildings, but of business and family, as well.
He was predeceased by his parents, his younger brother Folger and his older sister, Virginia. He leaves his wife, Mary Lee Gifford of 64 years, his sister Mary (Richard) Everett of East Haddam, CT and four children, who had the benefit of the teaching of his craftsmanship, Margaret (Kurt) Charpentier of Lyndeborough, Walter S. (Teresa) Gifford, III, of Schaghticoke, NY, Robert (Cynthia) Gifford of Schaghticoke, and Katherine (Brian) Sherras of Rupert, VT. Survivors also include his beloved ten grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, seven nieces, and one nephew. Interment of ashes will take place in the future at the family plot in Warren, Connecticut.