Ginger Loree Gifford, 69, passed away on the evening of May 18th from complications resulting from pneumonia.
She was born on April 12th, 1950 in Pierre, South Dakota to Florence Swinson and Doyle Gifford. Her mother sadly passed away when Ginger was only three and eventually, she moved with her dad to Warsaw, Indiana. From there, she lived with various family members and became a member of the Cardinal Center. She made some friends there who she continued to keep in touch with. In the ‘80s she was an avid participant in the Special Olympics and won many awards there.
Ginger faced many challenges in life and eventually came to live with Pat West and her daughter, Liz, in 1992. She was immediately a part of Pat’s family. As Liz grew up, Ginger grew also and she participated in many of Liz’s school and church (First Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Warsaw) events with her. This prompted Pat to enlist the help of tutors, Ron Raber and Vicky Tyson, to help Ginger along with reading, writing, and math. She flourished with the help of Ron and Vicky and continued to avidly read newspapers and magazines for the rest of her life.
Ginger was also a staple at the local Ace Hardware, owned by the Maze family. She started working there around 1994 and stayed there until they closed in 2018. Sara Maze took a special interest in Ginger and they continued to be friends throughout the years. Ginger met many people through Ace Hardware and she especially loved the garden department.
She went back to South Dakota on vacation several times to visit her family there – her Uncle Pete Swinson and several cousins.
Ginger’s story is one of success after many difficult years of trying to find a place for herself. She could be found in the spring and summer early mornings smelling the roses in the garden. She enjoyed riding her bike throughout the neighborhood, Southbrook Park in Warsaw, and visiting with the neighbors there. She especially loved the dogs she’s had over the years – Beau, Fritz, Mackie, Buddy, and now Sally and Sadie. She loved and is dearly loved by all of the family she found through Pat, and all of Pat’s grandchildren affectionately called her Aunt Ginger. Pat’s oldest granddaughter, Annabel, grew up with and spent time with Ginger in the same way her daughter Liz did and the two of them especially cherish those memories. Even at the time of her passing, continuing to care for others, she was a Cornea Donor to the Indiana Lion’s Eyebank.
Ginger was preceded in death by her parents and Uncle Pete. Surviving is her guardian and friend, Pat West, of Warsaw; Pat’s daughter, Liz Clark and her husband Alex, of Warsaw; Pat’s daughter, Lee Rish, of Tunker; Pat’s son, Rick Rish and his wife Jill, of South Bend; and all of Pat’s grandchildren – Annabel, Lela, and Fane Clark of Warsaw and Osiris, Thaddeus, and Leo Rish and Dakota Sheldon of South Bend. Also surviving are her close friends, Heather Batalis of Warsaw and Sarah Maze of Warsaw.
A visitation honoring Ginger will be held in McHatton Sadler Funeral Chapel, Warsaw on Thursday, May 23rd from 3:00-6:00PM with a funeral service following directly after at 6:00PM. Pastor Glenn Hall will officiate the services. A private interment service will be held in Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw.
Memorial contributions may be made to: Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County Building Fund, 3489 E. 100 S, Pierceton, IN 46562
To sign the register book or leave condolences electronically, go to mchattonsadlerfuneralchapels.com