Robert Leslie Clifford Jr.

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Robert Leslie Clifford Jr. DVM was born July 18, 1921, in Panola County, Texas out of DeBerry, the only child of Robert L. Clifford and Mabel Tiller Clifford. He died on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, at 92 years young at the family farm. Whether you knew him as “Sonny” as his relatives did, “Bobby” (classmates), “Cliff” (fellow servicemen), “Doc” (business associates), or “Bob” (adult friends), you always knew where he stood and what he stood for. Bobby went through his entire 11 years of school at Elysian Fields, graduating in 1938. He then attended Stephen F. Austin State University earning his undergraduate degree in 1942. While at SFA, he lettered in track as a distance runner and participated in many other campus activities. He remained a loyal supporter of SFA throughout his life. In early 1942, Cliff enlisted in the U.S. Navy to fight for his country in World War II. He quickly became an officer and was assigned to the U.S.S. Leedstown and deployed to the South Pacific. On shore leave in April 1943, he married his college sweetheart, Willie Dee Williams, who rode a bus 40 plus hours to Ft. Myers, Fla. to unite with him. After the war, he went to Texas A&M to achieve a degree in veterinary medicine, graduating in 1949 and entering private practice in Lufkin and then Mexia. In 1955, Doc went to work with the Poultry Extension Service of the State of Texas (Texas A&M) and moved to Center. He operated his lab as a poultry pathologist until the mid-1970s, then taking over as the executive vice-president of Rite Care, Inc. From then until his retirement in 1996, he served the poultry industry in the private sector. In 1991, he achieved the industry’s highest honor, the Golden Feather Award for his work in avian medicine. In retirement Bob was active in the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church and the Methodist Texas Conference, attending the annual conference in Houston each year. He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Willie. Bob is survived by his son, Robert L. Clifford III (Rob) and his wife, Vicki, of Santa, Fe, N.M.; daughter, the Rev. Carol Clifford Turner and husband, David Turner, of Palestine, Texas; grandchildren, Clifford Turner and wife, Ricka, of St. Louis, Mo., Leslie Turner of Austin, Robert Greyson Clifford of Breckenridge, Colo., and Stephen Daniel Clifford and wife, Jennifer, of Nelson, British Columbia; and great-grandchildren, Aman Clifford and Ruth Clifford. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, 1174 CR 328, DeBerry, Texas (Hwy. 79 and CR 328, between DeBerry and Panola, Texas) with Bishop Ann B. Sherer-Simpson, the Rev. Bill Denham, and the Rev. Terry Cashion officiating, under the direction of Jimerson-Lipsey Funeral Home. Interment with military honors will take place at the Panola-Mt. Zion Cemetery adjoining the church grounds. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the funeral home. Serving as pallbearers are his little league “boys,” Leonard Yarbrough, Taylor Bush, John Wayne Thompson, Greg Powell, John Pigg, Jim Truitt, Bob Pigg and Wade Fox. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Heart’s Way Hospice, 437 W. Panola St., Carthage, Texas, 75633 or Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 274, Panola, Texas, 75685. A guestbook may be signed online at Jimerson-Lipsey Funeral Home.
Published in The Daily Sentinel on Dec. 18, 2013
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