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.
Published in The Burlington Free Press on Nov. 9, 2009.