Alta Gifford, age 98, of Tyler, Minnesota, died on Saturday, August 27, 2020, at the Sunrise Manor Care Center in Tyler. Private Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at the Russell Cemetery in Russell. Due to services being held outside, in lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Russell Cemetery Association, Grace First Parish Church, or any other Russell business or organization to help support her beloved community.
Alta Adeline Johnson was born in Lyon County, Minnesota at home on June 19,1922, to Anna and Louis Johnson. She graduated from Russell High school in 1940 and then attended 2 years of college in Mankato, Minnesota. Alta graduated in 1942 with a “standard 2-year graduates’ degree” and went on to teach country school in Garvin for 1 year, Burchard for 2 years, and in Tyler for 2 more years. Alta married Robert Gifford in November of 1947 and the couple farmed by Russell their entire married life. To this union 6 children were born: Bill, Ruth, David, Gale, Gary, and Kent. Bob was killed in a farm accident in 1980 and Alta continued to live on the farm and remained in the farming operation for many years. Alta was regularly active in her community. She was a charter member of the Russell Presbyterian Church and served on the church board, oversaw the “Election Day Turkey Supper” for many years, and she was involved in the Russell scholarship chili supper. Alta also helped with the Dairy Classic and the Dairy Day princess events. She was a proud member of Grace First Parish Church in Russell, the Marshall’s chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, and the Russell Auxiliary. Alta was also the founder and editor of what is now known as the Russell Newsletter, and cooked at the Danebod summer camps in Tyler for 11 years. Alta catered many events and made her “special” overnight cakes for weddings, graduations, and all occasions! We do not know a woman that worked harder than our “Mom”. She still had time for her children, grandchildren, and many close friends. Alta received some special awards in her life, namely the Lyon County Female Citizen of the year in 1995 and was proud to asked to be the Grand Marshal of Russell’s Band Wagon Days in 2018. Alta moved from the farm to Balaton when she needed more assistance with her care. When that facility closed, Alta then to Tyler where she passed away at Sunrise Manor on Saturday, August 29, 2020. She had reached the age of 98 years, 2 months, and 10 days.
She is survived by her children, Willard (Betty) Gifford of Russell, Ruth (Dave) Lehnhoff of Balaton, David (Becky) Gifford of Marshall, Gale (Judy) Gifford of Demming, NM, Kent (Joleen) Gifford of Tyler; grandchildren, Tonia Swan, Brandon Gifford, Traci Lehnhoff, Brian Gifford, Robbie Gifford, Bridget Story, Adam Gifford, Casey Olson, and Justine Walker; 16 great-grandchildren; sisters, Anna Mae Holm of Watertown, SD, and Edna Oldenburg of Boise, ID; many nieces and nephews, other relatives, and friends. Alta is preceded in death by her parents; husband, Robert; son, Gary Gifford; granddaughter, Sandy Gifford; grandsons, Dustin Gifford, Kyle Lehnhoff and John Mark Lehnhoff; brother, Louis Johnson; and a sister, Georgia Krieg.