Beloved St Micheal’s Professor and Army Veteran Gifford “Giff” Roscoe Hart Jr. passes at 89.
Gifford Roscoe Hart Jr. (born February 25, 1930) passed away on December 17, 2019. Gifford was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, sportsman, and lover of life.
Giff was well known for his dry sense of humor. One Thanksgiving dinner, he was asked if he wore a bowtie when teaching. His wife, Rusty, answered, “He wore nothing.” To which Giff added, “It was a very popular class.”
Giff met his wife of 67 years at Princeton University where he was a student. He slyly devised a plan for meeting Rusty by pretending not to know how to work a mimeograph machine so he had to recruit her to help. The rest, as they say, is history. After a short stint in New York, the two moved to Shelburne, Vermont where he began his career at Saint Michael's College.
His students revered Giff as one of their favorite professors. His daughter-in-law, Rebecca, met one of his students in Austin, TX. Over dinner, a colleague from Boston talked about attending a small college outside Burlington, she knew it had to be St. Micheal’s. When she asked if he knew Giff, the colleague began to tell stories of a respected professor and trusted advisor who had impacted his life. Rebecca happily reported to him that she was his daughter-in-law and called Giff to tell him about her chance encounter and all the wonderful things she heard.
He was active in his local community, helping the National Guard with their readiness exercises and scoring at the local shooting club. He was kind and loving to all, in his time in the Army during the Korean War, he was instrumental in helping one GI save his family farm and was decorated for his selfless efforts.
He taught his sons how to fish, build model airplanes, and how to fix cars, which more often than not, happened in the front yard to the chagrin of the neighbors. He was a dedicated father, often times taking his sons to hockey practice at 5 am in the unreasonably, cold Vermont winters, in a beat up old Chevy, that he would warm up before loading the kids in. After practice, he would get a vending machine hot chocolate, which was produced on the surface of the sun because it would always burn the kids tongues and tasted vaguely of coffee.
He is survived by his wife, Bronislawa “Rusty” Hart; sons Gifford R. III of Fairfield, John D, Joseph C. (Erika) of Essex Junction), and Curtis “Dinosaur” C. (Rebecca) of Austin, Tx. He will be sorely missed by his five grandchildren: Gifford R. IV (Emma), Margot Cummings (Andrew), Tremaine W., Sonja, Christopher (Jorie), and great-granddaughter Aurora. Gifford is preceded in death by his parents Gifford Roscoe and Mary G. and by his sister Mary.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that donations be made in Gifford’s memory to The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.iava.org). The wake will be held Sunday, Dec. 22 from 2-5PM at A W Rich Funeral Home 57 Main St, Essex Junction, VT. Mass Services will take place at 11:00AM Monday, Dec. 23 at St. Pius X Parish in Essex Junction.