"This is delicate work, you moron!!" - Maury Gifford
Maury Gifford is a career repairman, mechanic and jack-of-all-trades who lived in Mill City during the 80s and 90s.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in the 1920s, Gifford was one of two sons born to French Jewish parents. Both Maury and his brother, Irwin, attended Erasmus Hall High School in Flatbush where they met their future wives. The two brothers were close friends because of their common interests in cars and electronics. Irwin eventually shortened Maury's name to "Ray" during their teenage years. During World War Two, he joined the United States Army while Irwin was classified 4-F because an ear injury.
After the war, Maury married his girlfriend, Chloe, and located to San Diego, California where his brother was living with his wife, Trudy, and running a gas station. With Maury's pension, they managed to open their own gas station and garage together on a cheap plot of land near Palm Springs. However, the timing of the opening turned out to be inauspicious. A con-artist named Otto Meyer in a feud with a truck driver named Lennie Pike became involved in a feud to retrieve the lost fortune of deceased mobster James "The Smiler" Grogan near Santa Rosita, California. Their feud ended up at the Gifford's gas station where the brothers heard Meyer hurl accusations to Pike being "an escaped lunatic." Believing those lies, the Giffords tried to restrain Pike who leveled the garage trying to escape them. Their court case for damages took three years with their insurance company refusing to pay out for damages, finding them culpable in the destruction of the garage.
Virtually bankrupt after the incident, Gifford struggled to get work afterward. He held a menial job in a theater as a projectionist before moving to Phoenix, Arizona and working as a telephone repairman. Irving meanwhile found success doing set construction in Hollywood, but after retirement, Maury decided to move back to Brooklyn to be near family and friends. He took part-time work in a clock repair shop and when it went out of business, he and Chloe moved to the country. Finding a small house in Mill City, New York, Gifford turned to working with Nate Tayback, a old Army buddy, running a local fix-it shop that specialized in office equipment. Their main contractors were the Winchester City Hall, Winchester Hotel and Hedison Pharmaceuticals in nearby Ashford Falls. After Tayback passed away in 1989, Gifford became the sole owner of the shop. In 1991, he received a frantic call from Jack Gable needing emergency typewriter repair for his typewriter.
Gradually, Gifford's vision became too compromised to do the fine work, and he sold the shop to Priority Enterprises. Content to retire, he spent the last of his days puttering in his garden. He passed away on August 25, 2016.