After ten years of battling Dementia, Thelma Jean Gifford, Beloved wife of the late Wright D. Gifford, Jr., of Vernon, CT, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on February 2, 2018 at Vernon Manor. She was born in Willimantic, CT on June 2, 1930 to the late Myrton E. Wright and Alice M. (Knight) Wright. At an early age Thelma was inspired by learning and teaching while attending the “Little Red School House” in Coventry earning her Bachelor Degree and Master Degree at the University of Connecticut. She spent 35 years with the Board of Education in Manchester, CT and retired after 22 years of teaching second grade at the Buckley School. Thelma will be most remembered as a wonderful teacher that fostered many talents and inspired children to pursue their dreams. She touched many people’s lives with love and kindness and she will truly be missed. She was a member of the First Congregational Church of Vernon for 59 years where she helped with the rebuilding after the fire with the publication of the Church Cookbook and was very active in many groups including Sunday school. She loved traveling with her close friends and spending time hosting family and friends at her summer home in Chelsea Hill, Vermont. She is survived by her sister Shirley Edmondson and her husband Ronald of Coventry, Her son Randall Gifford and his wife Wendy of Wisconsin, daughter Kaylin Gifford of Willimantic, Grandchildren, Emily Gifford and Jory Zhang; many nieces, nephews and lifelong friends. A Memorial Service will be held on a later date in the spring. The Gifford Family would like to extend a special thank you to all the Nurses, Doctors and Attendants at Vernon Manor for the 7 years of wonderful care of Thelma. For online condolences please visit www.pietrasfuneralhome.com.