Longtime Hewitt CEO dies of cancer

Dale Lloyd Gifford, who spent his career at Hewitt, 14 of those as CEO, died after a brief, valiant fight with cancer.

His family and friends are planning to celebrate his life Friday, July 27, at Christ Church Lake Forest.

Gifford, 68, passed away peacefully in his Libertyville home while surrounded by family.

"My dad was a very bright, good man," his son, Scott, said Tuesday. He said his father started as an actuary at Hewitt Associates in summer 1972 and remained there until his retirement in 2006 when he was CEO.

In 1992, he was appointed as the third chief executive of Lincolnshire-based Hewitt Associates and when Hewitt went public in June 2002, Gifford became the chairman of the Hewitt board as well as CEO - both positions he held until his 2006 retirement.

"He was a really sweet, really humble leader," said Scott, who also lives in Libertyville. He added that his father's battle with pancreatic cancer was short as they just learned of the illness on Easter. "It's the same illness that his father died of," Scott added.

He said that his father wrote an autobiography for the family and gave it to them in January. "I can't really explain how meaningful that is now that he passed," Scott said. In the book, he listed some life lessons that include to never confuse who you are with what you do. "This was his way of saying just because you're in a big role it shouldn't change who you are as a person," Scott said. Other tips in the book include to "figure out what motivates you and let it motivate you. Take what you do seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously."

And Gifford wrote, "Don't pass up on great or interesting opportunities."

Gifford always made time for those around him. These traits carried over to his philanthropic endeavors as well, where he mentored and developed leaders while serving on boards to several Christian organizations. Since his retirement, he spent a significant portion of his time serving these Christian groups, Scott said.

He also had a special place in his heart for children who lacked access to quality education and health care and was committed to do what he could to help, his family said.

In recognition of this, the family is asking in lieu of flowers for contributions to be made to Oasis for Orphans, an organization that deeply touched Gifford. Contributions toward the Dale Gifford Memorial Fund will be used to provide quality education and health care to orphans in the southwest region of Kenya.

Gifford grew up in Wisconsin and was the valedictorian of the Ladysmith High School class of 1968. He studied actuarial science at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. While a student, he married his high school sweetheart Becky (Jordan) Gifford.

He is survived by his wife Becky; his children Scott (Jennifer), Derek (Ariele) and Kristen Holdcoft (David); his grandchildren Mitchell, Allyson, Jacob, Nathan, Harrison, Kinsie, Bailey and Kelson; and his sister Kathleen.

The celebration of life will take place at 10 a.m. July 27 at Christ Church Lake Forest, 100 Waukegan Road, Lake Forest, followed by a light luncheon at the Marriott Lincolnshire Grand Marquee Pavillion. The family is requesting that visitors rsvp at

Dale Gifford, a longtime CEO at Hewitt, enjoyed spending time with his family. Courtesy of the Gifford family
Dale Gifford and his wife, Becky, were high school sweethearts before they married 47 years ago. Courtesy of the Gifford family
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