Don's Story

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A funeral ceremony honoring and remembering the life of Donald "Don" R. Gifford will be 10 a.m. Friday in the Chapel of the Garden at Rice Funeral Service. Rev. Charles Ragland of First Christian Church will be presiding. Interment will follow in the Talala Cemetery. The family will receive visitors from 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.
Mr. Gifford passed away Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at Autumn Wood in Claremore. He was 84.
Born on April 15, 1932 in Talala, Don was the youngest of nine children and the son of Harry and Izora (Shaw) Gifford. The family's history in Talala dates back to 1909 when they traveled into town by covered wagons. Don was a lifelong resident of Rogers County, graduating from Claremore High School with the Class of 1950.
Following high school, Don honorably served in the 45th Division of the Army National Guard and was later activated with the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict. His successful career as an aircraft mechanic with American Airlines spanned over 35 years.
Don loved spending time at Oologah and Grand Lakes where he spent countless hours fishing and waterskiing. He loved to travel, taking numerous adventures to Las Vegas throughout his lifetime. Don also remained active in the Claremore community serving as a member of the Elks Lodge, American Legion, and the First Christian Church.
Surviving family members include his children: Diana Kohler and husband Don of Chelsea; and LaDonna Hix of Oologah; two grandchildren: Krystal Jenkins and husband Greg; and Kristy Kohler Blackburn; and six great-grandchildren: Evan, Aiden, Devin, Hunter, Luke, and Sterling.
Don was preceded in death by his siblings: Lois Adams, Thelma Valliere, Letitia Munson, Harriett Simpson, Helen Kilpatrick, Annabell Schweasdall, Harry Gifford, and Verna Standeford; and his son-in-law Kirby Hix.
Published on March 16, 2017
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