Sunday, November 22, 2015

Elbridge Gilford

ITL Hall of Famer / Topsfield Tory Elbridge Gilford has passed away.

TOPSFIELD- Mr. Elbridge H. "Gilly" Gilford III, 95, of Topsfield died Friday, November, 20th, 2015 at Beverly Hospital surrounded by his loving family.

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, he was the son of William H. and Minnie S. (Currier) and the beloved husband for 62 years of the late Iva Grace (Taylor) Gilford. He had two brothers, William and Ernest, and a sister, Bernice. In 1928, his father traded their Nebraska home for a Studebaker and they made their way back to their native New England.

After graduating from Topsfield High School, Elbridge enlisted in the US National Guard in 1941, and later the Army of the US Air Corp where he earned the rank of Corporal. He worked as a radio operator and installer around the world. An honorably discharged veteran, Mr. Gilford proudly served his country during World War II.

In 1946 after his discharge, he returned to Topsfield and founded Gil's Grocery, a landmark that still exists today. Gilly went to the store daily for lunch and visits with friends and neighbors, including the day of his death.

A longtime resident of the Town of Topsfield, Mr. Gilford was an active member of the community serving as Town Selectman and as a member of the American Legion Post # 255 of Topsfield. He was the Grand Marshal of the Memorial Day Parade and, for many years, the catcher/first baseman of the Topsfield Tories, later serving as coach for several more years. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Inter-Town Twilight League. Gilly loved baseball.

A well-known and generous man, Mr. Gilford believed in serving his country as well as his community; he was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, who will be truly missed by his family and the many friends whose lives he touched over the years. A friendly smile and greeting was always the first thing anyone received upon entering Gilly's, his store, a legacy which he and Grace have passed down to their children. He will be remembered for his dedication to his country and family, his athletic talents and his kind and compassionate nature.

Elbridge is survived by his two daughters, Marsha Robinson and her husband John of Portsmouth NH and Polly Croteau of Topsfield, his son, Jim Gilford and his wife Martha of Topsfield, his three granddaughters, Jennifer, Heather and Emma, his three great-grandchildren, Hannah, Scott and William, and several nieces and nephews.

ARRANGEMENTS: His Funeral Service will be held in the Congregational Church of Topsfield, East Common St., Topsfield, Wednesday, Nov. 25th at 3 P.M. Relatives and friends invited. Following the service all are invited to a collation in the Emerson Center, 9 East Common St., (Directly across the Town Common) Topsfield. Visiting hours in the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St., (rte. 62) Danvers, Tuesday, Nov. 24th from 4 to 7 P.M.. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Legion Post # 255, P.O Box 243, Topsfield, MA 01983 or to the Topsfield Athletic Association 76 Wenham Rd., Topsfield, MA 01983. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit