The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is grieving the loss of a longtime friend of the Caribbean, Flora Gilford, who passed away on October 9, 2019, in Michigan at the age of 97. Gilford was a travel agent who served as president of the CTO Northern California Chapter between the late 1980s to mid-1990s. Visitation will be held on October 21 from 7 – 8 p.m. at the Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home in Lansing, Michigan.
“Flora Gilford was well loved by her peers; she wholeheartedly loved the Caribbean and was always willing to volunteer when we needed a helping hand,” said Sylma Brown, director of CTO-USA, Inc. “She treated the CTO staff members and young sales representatives for CTO member countries as her children, always looking out for their well-being in a motherly way. To this day, my own children, nieces and nephews that knew her while they were growing up refer to her as ‘Grandma Flora’ because that is what she told them to call her,” Brown added.
Gilford was instrumental in the execution of the Caribbean Sales seminars, held annually in CTO member countries, which provided travel agent members of the CTO Chapters across the U.S. and Canada with the opportunity to participate in exclusive training and in-country workshops. She always attended the Caribbean Tourism Conferences (CTC) and consistently volunteered to assist CTO with managing the travel agents who attended the conferences.
Gilford also spearheaded fundraising efforts for the Audrey Palmer Hawks Memorial Scholarship Fund, a pre-cursor to the current CTO Scholarship Foundation.
“Flora was a loving, compassionate and wonderful woman who will be missed by many who loved her,” said Brown.