GIFT, Henry Compton, MD, MPH
Henry Compton Gift MD, MPH., 68, of Wolcott, died unexpectedly on March 20, 2013 in Kigali Rwanda (Africa) while working with the Clinton Health Initiative. Dr. Gift was born in Guyana, South America on September 24, 1944 to the late Beryl (Bristol) Gift and Henry Augustus Gift. He served in the United States Army, for two years, as Section Chief of Microbiology and Parasitology in Heidelberg, West Germany and received an honorable discharge upon completion of his service. He graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a bachelor's degree in Biology. In 1977, he earned his M.P.H. degree from the Yale School of Epidemiology and Public Health in Environmental Health and Epidemiology. Continuing his education after Yale, he received his medical degree from the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine in 1981. He completed his residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Saint Mary's Hospital in Waterbury. He held appointments as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at both the University of Connecticut and Yale University. He remained at Saint Mary's Hospital as Medical Director of the Family Health Center before retiring in 2010. Finding retirement unfulfilling, Dr. Gift joined the Clinton Global Health Initiative and was in Rwanda on assignment before his death. Over the years, Dr. Gift worked and lectured in several countries, including Haiti, St. Lucia, Uganda, Botswana, Guyana, Russia and Rwanda. He had a love for his work that was palpable. The premature death of his mother when he was twelve years old was a catalyst to him becoming a doctor who served the community. He dedicated his medical career to her memory and would have made her extremely proud in the way he offered himself to help the underserved. Dr. Gift is survived by his three children, Compton Edgar Gift and his wife Shamika of Durham, NC, Cheryl Mae (Gift) Little and her husband Rubin of Waterbury, and Derek Michael Gift and his wife Dayenne of Wallkill, NY; as well as the mother of his children, Octavia Gift. He will also be dearly missed by his two grandchildren, Briana Rae Gift and Blake Alexander Gift of Durham, NC. Dr. Gift also leaves behind three sisters and two brothers, Cora Gift-Ricketts, Claudette Foster, Shirley Gift, Ivor Gift and Esmond Gift; along with many nieces, nephews, an international extended family and a host of respected colleagues.
A Memorial Service in his honor will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2013, at 10 a.m. at EASTSIDE MEMORIAL, " A Casey Family Funeral Home & Tribute Center", 1987 East Main St. at Southmayd Rd. Waterbury. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that donations in his name be made to The Duke Pediatric Sickle Cell Conference Group DUMC Box 2916 Durham, NC 27710, www.sicklecell.mc.duke.edu/services/pediatricscontribute.html or to a charity of the donors choice. To extend on-line expressions of sympathy to the family, light a memorial candle or for additional information, kindly visit the funeral home website at: www.eastsidememorial.com.