James R. “Jim/Jack” Gifford, adventurer, traveler, avid reader and learner, historian, master gardener, fisherman, and loving Christian husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and uncle died in his motorhome on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 while camping at Dardenelle State Park, in Dardenelle.
Jim, an Air Force Veteran of the Korean War, met his beautiful bride, Sue Carol Couch, while stationed in Harlingen, Texas, and they married in 1954 in Pawhuska, Okla. Married for 60 years, they spent their retirement years as full-time RVers traveling and exploring the beauty and history of North America.
Jim was a graduate of Pryor High School, Oklahoma A & M, University of Kansas, and completed post-graduate studies at the University of Florida. He retired after a long career as a Research Entomologist with USDA, rising to Assistant Regional Director, Agricultural Research Services for Ark-La-Miss, and invested his last few years establishing and developing the Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville.
Jim is survived by six children, Jim (Dorinda) Gifford, Jana (Jackie) Bays, Carole (Cade) Cefalu, Cindy (Yancy) DeLoach, Karen (Jim) Lane, and Bill (Angela) Gifford; 18 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; sister, Vonnie Feather; and many caring nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Sue Carol in December 2014; parents William and Vinnie Gifford, siblings Ora Gifford, Glenn Gifford, Howard Gifford and Loie Rizley; and a great-granddaughter.
A graveside service will be held on Dec. 6, 2017 at 1 p.m. at Fort Gibson National Cemetery in Fort Gibson, Okla.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (shop.stjude.org).