Susan Hamilton Gifford-DeLeon
PLANTATION, Fla. — Susan Hamilton Gifford-DeLeon, 49, entrepreneur and co-owner of Brandel, Inc., died Aug. 22. 2011, near her home in Plantation, Fla. She was the wife of Benjamin DeLeon.Mrs. Gifford-DeLeon, daughter to the late Norma and George Gifford, was born in Philadelphia, Pa. When she was a young child, the family moved to Winchester Center. She graduated from The Gilbert School in 1980 and studied communications and marketing at Central Connecticut State University, earning her degree in 1985. While at CCSU, she was a DJ at WFCS, the university radio station, as well as the director of development. Pursuing a career in the food industry, Mrs. Gifford-DeLeon moved to Philadelphia in 1986 and worked for East Indies Coffee & Tea Company as a sales representative. After six years, Mrs. Gifford-DeLeon relocated to south Florida and was employed as a sales representative at Avalon Communications, Inc. Susan and Benjamin were married in 1994 and dedicated their efforts to growing their successful telecommunications venture, Brandel, Inc. Mrs. Gifford-DeLeon had a lifelong interest in protecting the environment and wildlife and was recognized for creating and registering the backyard of her home as a greenway by the city of Plantation, Fla., in 2008. Mrs. Gifford-DeLeon was very active in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Broward, Fla., as team captain of The Pink Squirrels. Her team received recognition for raising money to support breast cancer research and education. Mrs. Gifford-DeLeon maintained close relationships with many of her high school classmates and served as secretary of the class of 1980 Reunion Committee for several years, including the most recent 30th reunion.In addition to her husband, Mrs. Gifford-DeLeon is survived by her stepson, Brian DeLeon of Las Vegas, Nev.; her sister and nephew, Amy Gifford-Knapp and Gregory Knapp of Winchester Center; her sister, Lida Kent Gifford of Lafayette, Calif.; her aunt, Virginia Gordon McClure of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and her uncles, Nicholas T. Gordon of Garnet Valley, Pa., and Mark Howells of Henderson, Nev.A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 11 a.m., at Winchester Center Congregational Church. Those who wish to honor her memory are invited to make a contribution to any of the following charities:South Florida Wildlife Center, 3200 SW 4th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315; The Gilbert School, 200 Williams Avenue, Winsted, CT 06098; or Winchester Center Congregational Church, Winchester Center, CT 06094.