Spencer Giffords, 77, father of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, died Oct. 20, 2012.
Born in New York City, Mr. Giffords grew up in Tucson and graduated from Mexico City College. After college he took over his father’s tire business, El Campo Tire. His father, Akiba Hornstein, son of a Lithuanian rabbi, founded the business in 1940 after the family moved to Southern Arizona from New York. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Hornstein changed his name to ‘Gif Giffords’ to protect himself from anti-Semitism.
Gabrielle Giffords came back to Tucson at age 27 from New York City, where she was living, to run the family business in 1996. In 2000, she oversaw the sale of the company to Goodyear Tire and made her first run for office, winning a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.
Mr. Giffords was “very proud of Gabby” and suffered physically and emotionally after she was shot on Jan. 8, 2011, his wife, Gloria Giffords, told the Arizona Daily Star. “He couldn’t understad how anyone could procure a weapon and managed to slaughter all those people.”
Survivors include his wife of 46 years, Gloria Giffords; daughters Gabrielle Giffords (Mark Kelly) and Melissa Kay Giffords, both of Tucson; and a son, Alejandro Giffords, from a previous marriage.