Ronald Edward Gifford, Jr., 90, of Branchport, N.Y., and more recently Canandaigua, N.Y., went to be with the love of his life, Barbara J. Gifford, on October 25, 2022. Ronald, better known as Ed, was born on September 2, 1932, in Avoca, N.Y. to Carrie (Edwards) and Ronald D. Gifford, Sr. Ed and Barb (Mortensen) were married on August 8, 1954, at Branchport Methodist Church, where they met in the youth group. They raised five children on their dairy farm in the Town of Pulteney, N.Y. His family and friends affectionately referred to him as “The Big Cheese.” Ed was a dairy farmer for almost 50 years. During those years, he was also recognized as an outstanding Badger Farm Equipment representative.
For several years, in between farm chores, he drove bus for Prattsburgh School Busline. In 1985 he joined The Birkett Mills, first a salesman and then the manager of their Yates-Blodgett division. He enjoyed giving back to the community. His activities included being a charter member of the Prattsburgh Ambulance Corp., serving on the Prattsburgh Central School District Board of Education from 1978 – 1988, with his last two years as vice president, and as long-time treasurer at Branchport United Methodist Church. Supporting his family was very important to him. In his spare time, he found great pleasure in chauffeuring his grandchildren to their activities, where he had a captive audience for his many jokes and tales.
He was the biggest fan and supporter of his wife, “The Reverend Mother”, and could be found in the back pew of the church beaming with pride. Ed valued education and displayed the stickers of all the colleges his children and grandchildren attended and was proud to share their accomplishments with anyone who would listen. In the last few years, Ed’s greatest pleasure was going for rides around the countryside. The rides were accompanied by a string of stories about his experiences and the many people he knew. He was always happy to go just a few more miles before heading home. Ed was predeceased by his wife of 66 years, Barb, and their infant son Timothy. He was also predeceased by his parents, his brother, Donald Gifford, and recently, his daughter-in-law Alexa Faigle Gifford. He is survived by his loving children Jeffrey (Wendy) Gifford, Penn Yan; Valerie (Kurt) Knoblauch, Canandaigua; Rodney (Pat) Gifford, Newark; Laurie (Jim) Adams, Gorham; Mark Gifford, Penn Yan.
“Grandpa” was blessed with 13 grandchildren: Amanda (Mike) Lockwood; Kyle (Kendal) Gifford; Ryan (Bethany), Brent (Kelly), and Andrew (Melissa) Knoblauch; Jennifer (David) Lindemann; Melody (Shawn) Spalti; Emily (Justin) Whitney; Jacob Gifford; Carrie Beth (Nate) Wood; Nick (Amy) Adams; Eric (Katie Sennett) and Sydney Gifford; and 17 great-grandchildren ranging in age from four months to 13 years old, with two more on the way. He is survived by three siblings: Kenneth Gifford, Penn Yan; John Gifford, Waterloo; and Ida Mae Smith, Penn Yan; and a very large extended family. The family will have a private church service, followed by burial at Prattsburgh Rural Cemetery. In the spirit of gathering which Ed and Barb enjoyed, and because the pandemic prevented a celebration for Barb in 2020, there will be an open house-style Celebration of Life for both Ed and Barb on Saturday, November 26 from 2 – 6 p.m. at Hampton Inn & Seasons on Keuka Lake Conference Center, 110 Mace Street, Penn Yan.
Those who wish to honor Ed’s memory and legacy may make donations to Branchport United Methodist Church, PO Box 2, Keuka Park, NY 14478 or Keuka Comfort Care Home, PO Box 107, Penn Yan, NY 14527. Memories of Ed may be shared with his family and friends at townsendwoodzinger.com.