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Emily “Emmy, Em” Gifford (nee Rodgers), age 40, passed away on Saturday, March 21, 2020 after a brief illness. She was born on June 9, 1979 in Akron, Ohio to Richard and Kathryn Rodgers.

Emily was preceded in death by her grandparents, James and Patricia Crookston, and Edward Rodgers.

She is survived by her husband of 15 years, Brian; daughters, Matilda, Lucinda and Josephine; parents, Richard and Kathryn Rodgers; grandmother, Joan Rodgers; sister, Ellen Leppo (Nate); brothers, Alex “A.J.” (Stephanie) and Michael; nephews, Henry and Jack Leppo and Parker Rodgers; in-laws, Rex and Donna Gifford; sister-in-law, Melissa Gifford; and many “most awesome” cousins, aunts and uncles.

Emily graduated from Stow-Munroe Falls High School and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech pathology from Kent State University. She was an admired, respected and cherished colleague to all at the Stewart Early Learning Program at Akron Public Schools, where she worked as a speech therapist. In 2017, Emily was named Stewart ELP’s Teacher of the Year. She truly loved her work.

Life with Emily was never dull, and her family and friends treasured every second they were able to spend with her. Although she loved to travel, she most appreciated the beauty of the outdoors right here in Northeast Ohio. She was a distance runner, avid hiker, amateur ornithologist, expert water skier, and craft beer connoisseur. Emily loved all things Akron, especially beautifying and advocating for her neighborhood, Firestone Park. Most of all, she was an amazing mother who made her own rules, and those rules were awesome. She was happiest when she was outside with Tilly, Lu and Josie.

In loving memory of Emily, contributions may be made to the Gifford Girls’ education fund at any Fifth Third Bank.

All are welcome to share your memories of Emily at A celebration of life will be announced at a later date. To honor Emily in the meantime, apply some sunscreen and go for a walk, hike or run outside. We have a feeling she’ll be right there beside you.