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Many mourn death of aide Sifford

October 18, 2000
By: John Sheridan
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY -Missourians across the state are mounring the death of Gov. Mel Carnahan, but many are also grieving the death of long time Carnahan aide Chris Sifford.

Sifford died Monday in a plane accident in Goldman, Mo. He was 36.

Missouri governor Mel Caranahan, and his son Randy, also died in the wreck.

Since 1992, Sifford served the governor in a variety of postitions including press secretary, communications director, and chief of staff before stepping down this summer to direct governor Carnahan's bid for the U.S. Senate.

"He was our rock," said a fellow member of the governor's staff who requested anonymity. "Everyone that knew Chris, loved Chris."

Sifford is from Puxico, Missouri, a southwestern Missouri town of about 800 residents.

He went to Southwest Missouri State University and worked as sportswriter for the Springfield News Leader before joining the governor's staff.

Steve Koehler worked with Sifford at the paper.

"He was the kind of guy who was never down, he saw the bright side of things. He never let life pass him by without making a wisecrack about things," Koehler said.

Koehler also recalled Sifford was big Andy Griffin fan. In the newsroom, Sifford and a colleague had a game to see who could name the episode first.

Visitation for Sifford will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, at the Morgan Sifford Funeral home in Puxico, Missouri.

Services will be held 2 p.m., Sunday, at Puxico High School gymnasium.

Burial will be at the Puxico Cemetery, in Puxico.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Chris Sifford Memorial Fund through the First Midwest Bank of Puxico.