GIFFORD, George Hussey, Jr., MD Boston surgeon and member of the 1950 Harvard Crew that won the Henley Royal Regatta - died Wednesday evening December 19, 2012, at age 82 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. Throughout his distinguished career at the Boston Children's and the Brigham and Women's Hospitals, Dr. Gifford performed surgeries on hundreds of children with congenital deformities, burns, and facial injuries. He was also active in training national leaders in the field of plastic surgery. He helped develop important, novel surgical approaches, including tissue expansion and use of skin flaps for restoring natural appearance in children and adults. During his early training at Harvard in the 1960s, Dr. Gifford was part of the team developing ways to repair cardiac birth defects in "blue babies." But he later left heart surgery to focus on restoring children's appearances. "Too many of the blue babies died. I always had trouble with that. I liked talking to parents. I went into plastic surgery because I could explain to parents how we would make their children look better, and then I'd do it." He was on the faculty of Harvard School of Medicine from 1968 until his retirement in 1995. Dr. Gifford was also passionate about rowing. As a Harvard sophomore in 1950 he was a member of the Varsity heavyweight crew that defeated Yale and went on to win the Grand Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta in England. He was named an All-American by the Collegiate Rowing Association, and continued to anchor the Harvard Varsity until his graduation in 1952. Later in life he was an accomplished sweeps rower at the Masters level, winning the International Masters event for his age group in the Men's 4 with coxswain at Bled, Yugoslavia. He was an avid member of the Cambridge Boat Club. He served in the Navy on the USS Monrovia from 1952-54. He leaves his beloved wife of 55 years, Anisia Allen Gifford. He also leaves his children Allen L. Gifford of Boston, George H. Gifford III of Cumberland, RI, Anisia R. Gifford of Medfield, and John T. Gifford also of Medfield, MA, as well as his grandchildren - Canaan Gifford, Taber Gifford, Anisia Lundberg, Georgia Lundberg, Colden Lundberg, William Gifford, Reuben Gifford, Adelaide Gifford, and Olive Gifford. He is survived by his sister Augusta Gifford of Washington, DC. A Memorial Service is planned later in the Spring 2013, with the date and location yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy in his memory may be made to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. For obit or to share a memory of Dr. Gifford please visit Eaton Funeral Home 781-444-0201

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Published in The Boston Globe on Dec. 30, 2012