Peter Gifford, 68, of Syracuse, passed away Sunday at home surrounded by family and friends. He was a world leader in the research and manufacturing of cryogenic low temperature refrigeration equipment. Born in Washington, D.C. to the late Bill and Ann (Vermilye) Gifford. Peter moved to Syracuse when he was twelve when his father, a cryogenic expert, was brought to Syracuse University to teach and do research.
Peter was a gifted athlete as a young man, a tennis champion in high school, and played on the city championship football team for Nottingham High School. He studied physics and math at Syracuse University before graduating with a degree in Liberal Arts. Without any formal training, except for the apprenticeship with his father, Peter eventually took over his father’s company Cryomech. He was very proud that he was able to take Cryomech from a small company with a handful of employees to a world-leading technology company that designs and manufactures cryorefrigerators for use in cutting-edge research and production from agriculture to aerospace. Peter was especially proud of keeping Cryomech in Syracuse, relying on his team to grow this global business at a time when manufacturing in Central New York was declining. Peter was more than a “boss” – he was a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. He loved those he worked with just as if they were family. Peter’s leadership was inspiring, dynamic, and energized. He recently sold Cryomech to his employees so that it could continue on in Syracuse to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs and dreamers.
Peter made Cryomech successful by doing things no other company could. That spirit of adventure and challenge defined all aspects of his life. He had the mind of a scientist, the sensibilities of an artist, and the heart of a lion. Fearless and funny, with a quick smile and contagious enthusiasm he was a fast friend to many. He managed to pull everyone around him into his orbit of love and affection. When he walked into a room you knew it, as the air seemed to shift to make space for his larger than life personality. Peter will be most remembered for his kindness, genuine curiosity, and unwavering passion for life.
Peter fly-fished around the world but mostly in his beloved Catskills where he built a house on the bank of the West Branch of the Delaware River in Hancock, NY. While watching the evening hatch, enjoying bourbon, and smoking his pipe he would tell stories that skirted, but often landed, on the truth. These simple pleasures were as important to him as anything having to do with the catch and release of trout.
He was loved by all who knew him.
are his wife and partner of 37 years Lorraine Koury; sisters, Jenni Shone (Robert) of Strafford, NH; Hilary Gifford (Ben Guthrie) of Trumansburg, NY; brother Robert “Mac” Gifford, Syracuse, NY and nephews, Tristan Shone (Marilia) of San Diego, CA and Brint Shone (Tatjiana) and their children Masi and Marina of Portsmouth, NH.
Enormous gratitude goes out to the numerous caregivers, friends and family who surrounded Peter with love and companionship during this difficult time in his life.
will be 3-7 p.m. Friday, February 10th at Eaton-Tubbs Fayetteville Chapel, 7191 East Genesee Street in Fayetteville.
A Memorial Service
will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday, February 11th at
Marriott Syracuse Downtown “Hotel Syracuse”, 100 E. Onondaga Street.
Book your group rate for Peter Ellsworth Gifford Memorial Service
may be made to CNY Community Foundation for the Peter E. Gifford Fund for Career and Technical Education, Please Click Here to make your contributions to CNY Community Foundation for the Peter E. Gifford Fund for Career and Technical Education