News Item: [b]Willis E. "Woody" Gifford, 82[/b]
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Posted by Kim
Wednesday March 24, 2004

Willis E. "Woody" Gifford, 82

Willis Eugene Gifford was born on December 27, 1922, in Mitchell, SD, to Fred and Pearl (Bayles) Gifford. The Gifford family moved to Lyman County, in the Reliance/Kennebec/Presho area, when Willis was approximately 6 months old.

Woody, as he was known, graduated from Kennebec High School and soon after began his life-long career as a rancher. He purchased a ranch along the White River south of Kennebec; it was on this ranch that he put together his cow and horse herds. On March 9, 1962, he moved to a ranch south of Wood, SD, and resided there for the rest of his life. He and his wife, Colleen, worked side by side devoting their lives to raising registered Quarter horses and tending to the land that they loved so much.

Woody fought a courageous battle with cancer, and the last two years of his life brought him a great deal of pain and suffering. He left this life at approximately 4:30 A.M. on Saturday, March 6 in the loving arms of his wife of 58 years in their ranch home.

Welcoming him to his Eternal Home, were his parents; an infant daughter, Willeen (Billie); his brother and sister-in-law, Dallas and Jessie Gifford; a nephew. Kenneth Gifford; a grandson-in-Iaw. Greg Adair; and a host of relatives and friends.

Proud and privileged to have shared his life are his wife, Colleen, of Wood, S.D; daughters Cheryl Medearis (Mike Jansen), Mission, SD: and Sandy (Duane) Parker. Valentine. Nebraska; seven grandchildren. Marty (Kerri) Moore. Laurel. Montana; Mike (Sara) Moore, Chateau, Montana; Kristi Adair, Kearney, Nebraska; Lisa (Tony) Wirth, Crestview, Rorida; Cody Medearis, Littleton, Colorado; Ryon Parker. Grand Cayman Islands; and Amber Medea Spearfish, South Dakota. He was also blessed with nine great-grandchildren: Tyler and Kade Moore; Michael, Andrew, and Christian Wirth, Bailey. Macey. and Kelton Adair; and Connor Medearis. His nephew, Artie (Tina) 1 Gifford and their children, Grady and Miles Gifford, and Stacy Schuelke and their children also shared in Woodys life.

Celebration of Life services were held on Tuesday. March 9, 2004 at the Sinte Gleska University Wanbli Wakinyan Multipurpose Building in Mission, South Dakota. Wake services were held on Monday. March 8. Rev. Scott Wendland and Sam Wounded Head officiated at the Service; music was by Anne Clark and Don "Skeeter" Leader Charge. He was laid to rest next to his daughter, Billie. and his beloved "Auntie" Merle in the Riverview Cemetery.

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