As his wife, Terry, I thought I should be the one to tell everyone a little about Joe’s life.

My husband, Joseph L. Gifford of Waldoboro, passed away peacefully at his home on Jan. 15, 2010, in my arms and the arms of his granddaughter, Cierra. We had spent more than 22 wonderful years together and he was the love of my life. Our love for each other grew more each year. He loved life and he lived it to the fullest.

Joe was born in Round Pond, the son of the late Charles R. Gifford and Mabel Carter Gifford. He lived on Louds Island with his family until the age of 14.

He served his country in the U.S. Army from March 15, 1957, to Feb. 28, 1963. He was stationed in Korea from 1957 to 1958.

Joe was well known in Round Pond where he operated Midcoast Lobster for more than 30 years. Along with operating the wharf, he loved to truck lobsters to Canada. He thought nothing of putting in a long day at the wharf, then getting in his truck and heading for Canada, coming home just in time to go to work again.

Joe started Joe’s Rubbish Removal in Waldoboro in 1991. He worked hard and was proud of his business. He enjoyed talking to his customers and making new friends.

On July 6, 1997, Joe was given the “gift of life.” He had a heart transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. His sister, Nellie and companion, Robert, made many trips taking Joe back and forth to BWH for his checkups and no words can thank them enough. He was forever grateful for the gift he was given and never took life for granted. With God’s help and the help and prayers of family and friends, Joe made a complete recovery. He was determined not to sit at home and feel sorry for himself so by the fall of 1997 he was in the truck and back to work again.

In January 2006 he was diagnosed with cancer. Joe returned to BWH where he started chemotherapy treatments at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He came home to continue treatments at Midcoast Hospital in Brunswick. After many weeks of rehabilitation, Joe was on his feet and back at work.

Several years ago he decided to retire, turning Joe’s Rubbish Removal over to Wayne. He still continued to take telephone calls and help Wayne maintain the trucks. Every Saturday and Wednesday he waited for Wayne to come to visit and give him an update on the business.

Joe went to Miles Memorial Hospital on Christmas Eve. From there he was transported by ambulance to BWH. I had to return home several times during his stay and I would like to thank Rick and Wayne for driving me back and forth from Boston to Maine. I would also like to thank Michelle and Cierra for staying with Joe in Boston so he would never be alone. I am sure he loved you for doing it. When Joe came home he was never alone. Cierra helped take care of Papa, holding him when I had to leave his side. I couldn’t have done it without her help. Papa loved you so very much.

Joe enjoyed working in his vegetable garden, cutting and splitting wood, and mowing the lawn. At the same time each day he would look down the driveway and watch for the school bus to come and drop off his granddaughter, Cierra. Nellie and Robert would come on Sunday and take us for a ride. He looked forward to the telephone calls from his daughter, Michelle and he liked to go to the fairs and watch his son, Joe pull his teams of horses. Lisa’s daughter, Annie loved to come and spend the night. His brother, Merle would come and help him do odd jobs around the house. He was a hard worker and never complained. Death had been at his doorstep several times and I don’t think he was afraid of it. His biggest fear was that he hadn’t provided enough for me. He worried that I might not have enough wood, or that I would not have enough money to survive. I always told him not to worry. I would be just fine. That was the kind of man my husband was, always thinking of someone else.

In addition to his parents, Joe was predeceased by his daughter, Cheryl Gifford; his brothers, Kenneth and Ernest Gifford; and a sister, Sharlena Gifford Hassell.

He is survived by three children by a previous marriage, Joseph Gifford Jr. of North Newcastle and grandsons, Brandon, Daniel and Cason and granddaughters, Abigayle and Emily; Lisa Vinal and her husband, Chris, of Nobleboro and granddaughters, Michaela, Annie and Carolyn and grandson, Hudson; Michelle Eugley and her husband, Rodger, of Waldoboro and grandsons, Rodger Jr. and Isaiah and granddaughter, Meghann.

In addition to myself, he is survived by his granddaughter, Aliza Eugley of Damariscotta; my two children whom he raised and loved as his own, Michelle Miller and companion Rick Kaler of Washington and granddaughter, Cierra; and Wayne Leeman and wife, Kacie, of Nobleboro and grandson, Brady and granddaughter, Ashlynn.

Joe is survived by a brother, Stephen Carter of Waldoboro; a sister, Nellie Gifford Leeman and companion Robert Poland of Round Pond; a brother, Merle Gifford and wife, Judy, of Waldoboro; longtime best friends who have always been there for Joe are Leonard Prior and Don Collamore. Also the unspoken ones who will miss Joe are Kellie and Goldie, Joe’s dog and cat.

I loved Joe with all my heart, and the memories we made will last a lifetime. My husband would not want anyone to spend hard earned money on flowers; if he were here he would say, put the money toward your oil bill. If anyone would like to share memories of Joe or look at pictures please give me a call at 832-0528.

Arrangements are with the Smeltzer Family Cremation and Funeral Service in Waldoboro.