Republican State Rep. Jeffery A. Gifford, a retired paper mill worker from Lincoln in Penobscot County who served five terms in the Maine Legislature, died Sunday. He was 75.

A spokesman for the Maine Republican Party told The Associated Press that Gifford died of cancer.

He was elected to serve a fifth term in 2020 and was unopposed on the Republican ballot for Tuesday’s primary election. Gifford served four terms in the Legislature from 2006 to 2014.

Gifford was the fourth sitting state lawmaker to die this calendar year. Representatives Donna Doore, D-Augusta, and John Tuttle Jr., D-Sanford, died four days apart in late January. Rep. Theodore “Ted” Kryzak Jr., R-Acton, died in March.

Rep. Jeffery Gifford Contributed photo

Gifford represented District 142, which included the towns of Enfield, Howland, Lincoln, Maxfield, Woodville, the Plantation of Seboeis and part of the unorganized territory of North Penobscot including Mattamiscontis Township. He and his wife, Irene, have three children and seven grandchildren.

“Representative Gifford was a dedicated public servant,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement. “A hard-working man and longtime football coach, he loved his community and the good people he proudly represented in the Legislature. I am saddened to learn of his passing and extend my condolences to his wife, Irene, and his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.”


Sen. Susan Collins said she enjoyed working with Gifford, especially on issues impacting Maine’s agriculture and forest products industries.

“Jeff was a man of many talents, and he generously used his time and expertise to give back to his neighbors in Lincoln,” Collins said in a statement. “Whether it was through his service in the state Legislature, on the Town Council, or as a football coach, Jeff constantly strived to make the community a better place.”

“He was dedicated to his family and to serving his community,” House Speaker Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford, said in a statement Monday night. “It was in his nature to step up when he was needed. He was an active member of the Lincoln Town Council and a local football coach for decades. He felt it was important to serve the Lincoln area in Augusta.”

Gifford served on the Lincoln Town Council for 16 years.

“Jeff Gifford was the very definition of a devoted public servant. Loving, committed, faithful, humble and gentle in his approach. His presence was a gift that lifted the spirits of those around him,” House MinorityLeader Kathleen Dillingham, R-Oxford, said in a statement. “Steady, dependable, and steadfast in his beliefs and concerns for others, he will be greatly missed, but has left his mark on those who remain.”

Gifford graduated from Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln in 1964 and began his pulp and paper career working at Eastern Paper. He was a member of the Pulp & Paperworkers Resource Council. In the Legislature, he served on the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, according to a statement released by the House Speaker’s Office.

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