Gifford Bland, a lifetime Atascadero resident, died peacefully at his home surrounded by loved ones on June 5, 2017.
Gifford (Giff) was born at the old Atascadero hospital in 1932. He attended school in Atascadero through 11th grade and graduated from Templeton High School in 1950. He served in the California National Guard during the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1953.
In 1954, he married the love of his life, Shirley Ann Forsythe. The two settled in Atascadero and began building a home and family that still stands strong today.
Giff was an “active” father, spending all of his spare time and resources on whatever his kids were into. Whether it was sports, FFA, or 4H projects, he was always there to share his support and advice.
Giff began his 40-year career at Cal Trans — known then as the California Division of Highways — in 1954. During his time at Caltrans, Giff worked on highway projects that included the Gaviota Tunnel, the Morro Bay Highway 1 Bypass, and the construction of Highway 46 from Paso to Cambria.
Giff was a lifelong supporter of youth sports in Atascadero. He was a co-founding member of the Atascadero Youth Athletics (AYA) and coached Little League baseball and youth basketball. He helped create, and was past president of, the Atascadero High School Boosters Club in the early 1970s, and was a member of the Chain Gang for Atascadero High School football games from 1974 to 2002. In 2012, Giff was inducted into the Atascadero High School Athletics Hall of Fame.
Giff is survived by his wife of 63 years, Shirley; their four sons and their wives — Jeff (Linda) of Atascadero; Daniel (Garnell) of Blaine, WA; Rodger (Diane) of Camarillo; and Greg of Nipomo — eight grandchildren — Travis, Karissa, Trenton, Tanner, Quintin, Whitney, Mackenzie, and Sam — and one great-grandchild, Arlo. He’s also survived by his sister, Patricia St. Claire, of Atascadero, sister and brother in-law, Laura and Roy Pellascio of Paso Robles and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Memorial service will be held at the Chapel of the Roses in Atascadero on Friday June 23 at 2:30 p.m.