Cameron E. Gifford left us Sept 18, 2018, was born Sept 23, 1931, in St Luke's Hospital in New Bedford. The original settler family of Giffords landed in Sandwich, MA, in the late 1600's, Quakers escaping the discrimination of those times. The family eventually settled in the Westport and North Dartmouth area of Massachusetts and farmed the land there. His father Ralph worked the family farm and his Grammy Gifford was the weighty friend of the Allen's Neck Meeting. He then attended the Moses Brown School, a private Quaker academy, and Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.
After graduating from Earlham, he worked at the Chicago Natural History Museum where he assembled the allosaurus still on display in the museum. He was originally set to head to Borneo on an expedition, but K.P. Schmidt, the herpetologist at the museum told him he should instead go on another expedition to Boston-Harvard. While in graduate school, he did research in sounding in bats with Donald Griffin, then affiliated with the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. He studied with Eugene Odum, the founder of the Ecology Movement, completing his dissertation on the migration of bobolinks, and PhD at Harvard University in 1964.
On achieving his PhD, he was hired by Earlham College to return to the Biology Department where he eventually became Chair of the Department. While taking sabbatical at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1972, he joined the aquaculture project headed by John Ryther. When the project moved to Florida, he and his wife, with their 4 teenagers, decided to stay in Falmouth. The family purchased H.V. Lawrence, a historically established flower shop, greenhouse and landscape business located at 34 Depot Ave. since 1886. He was known for his early morning bagpipe practicing in the back of H.V.'s, a special treat for the neighbors, and the WHOI parking lots, heard by the community. The trickle-down economics of the early ‘90s, combined with the impacts of Hurricane Bob, eventually led to the bankruptcy of H.V. Lawrence.
He was subsequently hired at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1993 where he taught in the Marine Trades Department and eventually directed the library. Throughout his professional career, he was an avid gardener, propagating an enormous garden off Carriage Shop Rd, played the bagpipes for weddings and special occasions, and continued to attend Scottish Highland Games. After his retirement in 2004, he continued his gardening and shared the harvests, lunched with friends and the New York Times at Coffee Obsession in Falmouth, and always helped Mary Lavoie (owner of Vows Flower Shop) deliver flowers. He was a longtime member of the of the Falmouth Conservation Commission, chairing it from 1988 to 1997. He loved sharing flowers from the garden with the Falmouth Sports Center, Mary Ellen's Restaurant and Coffee Obsession and vegetables with the Falmouth Service Center located on Gifford Street. To quote one of his children "he never got to see the fjords in Norway but he got to see an awful lot in his almost 87 years. Scientist, teacher, biologist, oceanographer, bagpipe, kite maker, gardener and birdhouse maker par excellence."
In addition to his family, he leaves his "Grumpy Old Fart" hat. He will be missed.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and our blended family: Deborah Gifford Gimer of Huntington Beach CA (Robert Gimer); Stuart Gifford of Falmouth; Bruce Steeples of Lakeville, MN. (Deborah Steeples); John Steeples of Ramona, CA. (Jamie Steeples); Sheila Anders of Flagstaff, AZ. (Trent Anders); grandchildren: Sarah Withers of Alisa Viejo (David Withers); David Woolley (Stacey Woolley) of Mission Viejo, CA.; D. Cameron Steeples of Ames, IA.; Max Steeples of Madison, WI.; Brandon Steeples of Oregon; and Chelsea Lauren Steeples of Ramona, CA. He is additionally survived by 6 great grandchildren.
Per his wishes, there will be no formal service or memorial but rest assured his ashes will be sent to sea on an east running tide. He would like those remembering him to look out over Vineyard Sound, cherish, love and protect where we live.
to leave a message of condolence for the family please visit www.warehamvillagefuneralhome.com