HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – M. Jean Gifford, age 88, formerly of Richmond, Indiana, died peacefully in her sleep Saturday, December 7, 2019.
Jean was born on May 15, 1931, in Boston, Massachusetts, to George and Susannah Maddocks Mathews. She was a graduate of Fairhaven High School in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and St. Luke’s School of Nursing in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Jean moved to Richmond in 1953. She retired from the Wayne County Health Department, Nursing Division, on December 31, 1998, after working as a Registered Nurse for 27 years. Jean was also the Health Educator and Director of Nursing for the Wayne County Health Department.
Jean’s concern for the health of others, compelled her to serve her community in various ways, including being an advocate of clean hands and safe sex and disease awareness. She was one of the founders of AIDS Task Force of Southeast Central Indiana, where she was a lifetime board member. In 2003, Jean became the first recipient of the organization’s Humanitarian Award which was named in her honor. The AIDS Task Force also opened the Jean Gifford HealthWatch Clinic in 2004. She also served on the State Community Planning Group, which focused on AIDS and HIV information and education, and National Episcopal AIDS Coalition. Jean was the Diocesan Consultant for Health Education for the Diocese of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Additionally, Jean was a member of the National Association of Peer Program Professionals and former board vice president of Peer Information Center for Teens, Inc. She formerly served on the board of the American Red Cross, Wayne-Union County Chapter; Caring Community; Adult Day Care of Richmond, Inc.; Head Start of East Central Indiana; and Area 9 In-Home & Community Services Agency. Jean was a member of Altrusa Club of Richmond, as well as Delta Kappa Gamma Society, an honorary organization for women educators.
Jean was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where she served as a vestry member and senior warden and was a member of the choir. Jean was an accomplished vocalist, who enjoyed singing with the Richmond Choral Ensemble. She was also active with the Whitewater Opera Company and had been a former board member.
Jean enjoyed travelling the world, hiking, rescuing and adopting cats, and collecting teddy bears.
Survivors include her daughter, Deborah (Robert) Gimer of Huntington Beach; son, Stuart C. Gifford of Falmouth, Massachusetts; two grandchildren, Sarah (David) Withers of Aliso Viejo, California, and David Woolley of Mission Viejo, California; two great-grandsons, Luke and Cameron Withers; and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
Memorial visitation for M. Jean Gifford will be from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Friday, March 13, 2020, at Doan & Mills Funeral Home, 790 National Road West, Richmond. Memorial service will follow at 12:00 p.m. Friday, March 13, 2020, at Doan & Mills Funeral Home with Rev. Barry Cramer officiating. Burial will be in Earlham Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to: National Association of Peer Program Professionals, 58 Portwest Court, St. Charles, MO 63303 or Help The Animals, Inc., P.O. Box 117, Richmond, IN 47375.
Condolences may be sent to the family via the guest book at www.doanmillsfuneralhome.com.