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GUENEVER E. A. GIFFORD BURLINGTON - Guen Gifford died on Sunday afternoon the first of Nov. at the age of 37. Her completely unexpected and sudden death while para-gliding in California is a profound loss for the community of people her life touched. Ms Gifford resided in Burlington, where she worked as a Staff Attorney at Legal Services Law Line of Vermont. She was born in Brattleboro in 1972, the daughter of Justyn Moulds and Kendall Gifford. She graduated from Brattleboro High School in 1990. Guen earned her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics in 1994, at Grinnell College, Iowa. She was a National Merit Scholar, elected Phi Betta Kappa, and awarded the Grinnell College President's Medal. While at Grinnell she served as Chair of the Gay/Lesbian/Bi Pride Week Planning Committee. She played varsity soccer for four years that Grinnel won its Division Conference title. Guen continued her involvement in athletics her entire life. She always felt most at home in the outdoors - playing soccer and ultimate Frisbee, hiking, winter camping, skiing, or para-gliding. Ms Gifford was admitted to the Vermont Bar in June of 2002, after a four year clerkship. Prior to her most recent position as Staff Attorney at Law Line, she worked as Temporary Staff attorney at Vermont Legal Aid and as Housing Advocate for Chittenden Community Action. She served on the Boards of Directors of the Peace and Justice Center, and the Lake Champlain Housing Development Corporation. Ms Gifford is widely recognized for her persistent and outstanding advocacy of equal rights and fair standards for the economically distressed, and other victims of discriminatory treatment, including gays and lesbians. Ms Gifford is survived by her mother and father, her brothers Josh Buell and Michael Gifford; her former partner Anya Schwartz; her step-relations and community of friends. She is remembered by all for her full and fearless engagement with living, in her devotion to her work, the causes she championed and the pursuit of her passion. She will continue to be an inspiration to us all. A memorial service will be held in Burlington on Saturday the 14th at 2 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House at the North end of Church Street. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Vermont Peace and Justice Center and to The Caroline Fund, both in Burlington.

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Published in The Burlington Free Press on Nov. 9, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
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17 entries
December 4, 2009
I cannot believe that it has been over a month that you have been gone, I still miss you just as much as I did the first day. At times it still doesn't seem real, but you have been in my many of dreams at night so I know that you are safe and free to fly. I love you with all of my heart and soul forever! You are my person forever and always, Rachel
Rachel Willey
November 23, 2009
I still don"t want to believe that such a bright light and amazing soul has been lifted from us and that Guen the woman will no longer grace us with her most positive presence and easy smile. My whole heart goes out to her family and closest of friends who must be feeling this exponentially. This is truly No School Soccer Team's worst loss ever.
Diane Rodgers
November 19, 2009
I did not know Guen well or long, nor have I known her for a long time, but the revelation of her passing is a shock, to say the least, and a significant loss to the world, for lack of a more profound proclamation. I knew Guen pre-lawyerdom, when I was a newbie lawyer and she was an advocate and soccor coach. I knew nothing of soccor, but she taught me plenty, or plenty enough to be a cheerleading coach along side her. She made an impression then and I remember her not with mere fondenss but as a person who embraced life and compassion for others and an inspiration. I know she will be missed.
Susan Buchanan
November 18, 2009
Guen was a wonderful spirit. I remember her fondly, she touched everyone with her positive energy, warm smile, big heart. Barb Fitterer
November 17, 2009
My most sincere condolences to the dear friends and family of Guen. She was a wonderful, supportive, informed and respected resource in my work with women and their children who experienced domestic and/or sexual violence. I am very saddened to hear of her sudden death. Peace, Willow Wheelock
November 17, 2009
I am saddened by this news. I worked at CVOEO at the same time Guen worked for Community Action and over the years our paths crossed from time to time because of her work at legal aid. I did not know her well but she obviously was an amazing person who touched everyone around her. We can all learn from someone so determined to live every moment of life to the fullest.
Arthur Hamlin
November 15, 2009
Guen taught us all to live a little better, a little fuller, a little brighter. She carries on in the hearts and memories of those she leaves behind, but honestly, that's small consolation. Fly like a bird, Guen. Fly like a bird.
Dee and Catriona
November 14, 2009
Guen was a remarkable human being--a very bright light for so many people. Tomorrow I will plant a white flag with her name on a summit in the White Mountains.
Nancy Mitiguy
November 14, 2009
I am a housing advocate for Addison Community Action and sought Guen's advice countless times over the years. She tought me so, so much in regard to working with families who live in poverty. I will sorely miss her and I thank you, Guen !
November 12, 2009
Guen was one of the first people I met when I moved to Burlington. She was very friendly and helped me feel at home here. Guen, you will be missed by the many, many people whose lives you touched. Thank you for all you did to make the world a better place.
Chapin Spencer
November 10, 2009
Our acquaintance with Guen was through our daughter who was one of her friends and roommates at Grinnell. We were always impressed by Guen's grit and determination and her passion for life and the causes she embraced. Our hearts are full and go out to her family and all of those whose lives were touched by her unique spirit.
Eve and Harry First (Larchmont, NY)
Eve First
November 10, 2009
My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this most difficult time.
Ginny Culp
November 10, 2009
Guen, was my neigbor for many years on Strong Street. I was shocked and saddened to hear of her passing. Guen told me she wanted to live her life to the fullest and took a year off from work to accomplish that. My heart and prayers go out to her family. She will be dearly missed.
Angelina Beardsley
November 10, 2009
Guen was a kind, positive spirit on our soccer team (No School Snowboards) and welcomed all with an open heart. I have really nice memories of sharing the field in Stowe with her. I wish all of her teammates, colleagues, friends and family thoughts the inspiration to live with the heart that Guen showed toward others in all of her walks of life.
Katie Nye
November 9, 2009
Guen ~ As the days have begun to pass the pain has not gotten any easier. You were truly a genuine, kind hearted person and I have no other friend just like you. Each day I remember another conversation we had - some make me smile and laugh while some make me cry. But I know I will never ever forget you and I will miss you for eternity. Love you forever, Cha
Rachel Willey
November 9, 2009
Guen created many fun, lasting memories with so many people at Grinnell College and beyond. But what has stuck with me most is this:

She used her intelligence and deep sense of commitment to her ideals to relentlessly live out her values and beliefs. You didn't want to cut corners around Guen Gifford.

~The Kaster
Julie Estlick
November 9, 2009
Guen was an exuberant, kind, lovely human being.

I wish her family and all who knew and loved her, peace and love.
Laura Gans
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