Ralph Gifford (86) passed on peacefully at home on January 3, 2016. Ralph was born to Jay and Nora Gifford on January 30, 1929, at Norman, Oklahoma. He finished his freshman year at Noble (Okla.) High School, then joined his family in Los Angeles where his father had been transferred. He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School and, after working as a bank accountant, moved with his family to Bakersfield and subsequently enrolled in Fresno State College, studying Business Administration with a minor in accounting. Ralph vowed that if he could find a job in the Valley, he would not return to Los Angeles.
Ralph's career was water: He managed Oildale Mutual Water Company and managed the North of the River Municipal Water District which was formed to import State water to the NOR area, a career spanning 43 years.
Ralph was a member of the Oildale Kiwanis Club for 39 years, in which he served as President anpdad Secretary and was named Kiwanian of the Year in 1950. He served two terms as Chairman of Improvement District No. 4 which brought State water to the urban area of Bakersfield. He also served two terms as Chairman of the Kern County Water Association. His many civic activities included serving as a Scout Master and District Commissioner of Scouting. He was also a longtime member and deacon at the First Baptist Church.
Ralph was a man of strength, generosity and caring. He will be sorely missed by his many close friends. He came from a large family, and family was his greatest priority. He was the pillar of his family. Ralph is preceded in death by Doris Gifford, his wife for 35 years; Tara Nicklaus, daughter; and Bobby Gifford, son. He is survived by his daughters Caryl Johnson; Rebecca Rich and her husband Wayne; Kay Korecki and her fiance Jose; and son Mark Gifford and his fiance Tammie, all of Bakersfield; grandchildren, Jessica Tegtmeyer and her husband Dave; Misty Sandhu and her husband, Tony; Cory Gifford; Tammy DeMinico; Derek Van Camp and his wife Marisol; Stacie Printz; Kristie Le Barge and her husband, Cal; and great-grandchildren, Ashley Moss; Justin, Noah, Sara and Taren Sandhu; Charlotte and Daniel Tegtmeyer; Bella Van Camp; Laura Printz; and Zoie Le Barge.
Ralph had ten siblings to whom he remained close all his life, several of whom have gone to be with the Lord. Ralph is survived by brothers Perry, Coy, Melvin and Edwin Gifford and sisters Lahretta Gifford and Allene Gill; nephews Michael , William, Chuck, Terry and Don Gifford; Jerry Gill and Randy Kinsey; nieces Linda Litton, Sharon McCarthy, Donna Goit, Paula Hogg, Patricia Lovelace, Marsha Bretke, Patricia McKinster, Sherry Paige, Kathy Klouda, Barbara Howard and Jeannie Smith.
Special thank you to Sandra Gifford for much prayer and support.
He will be dearly missed and remembered by family and friends. Ralph left a legacy of faith and endurance for his family to treasure always.
Visitation will be held 4-8 p.m. Thursday January 14th at Hillcrest Memorial Park, 9101 Kern Canyon Rd. Graveside service to follow Friday, January 15th at 11 a.m., Hillcrest.
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