Clemens, Clifford Gordon, native of Huntington Beach, passed away in his sleep at his home Wednesday, June 19, 2013. He was 89 years old.|
Cliff was born July 3, 1923, one of twelve children, in Wintersburg; a small farming community at the intersection of Warner and Gothard in Huntington Beach. He attended Ocean View Elementary School, Central Elementary School (Dwyer Middle School) and Huntington Beach High School. In school he competed in Basketball, Football, and Track and Field. He was the football team captain as a senior at Huntington Beach High School.
In December 1941 Cliff quit his senior year of high school to the join the Army. He was assigned to the Army Air Corp where he began training as a flight engineer and machine gunner. He was deployed to Great Britain and fought in the Battle of Britain flying 23 bombing missions over Germany earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with four oak clusters. On his 23rd mission his plane was shot down; he was able to jump to safety only to be captured by the Nazis. He spent the next 6 months of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp before being liberated by British troops.
After the war Cliff worked at many different jobs before becoming a Painter Contractor; a job he worked at for over 40 years until he retired at age 80.
Cliff was known for his loyalty and generosity to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as his gruff exterior, but gentle soul. His wife, Clarrissa, predeceased him in 1995. He is survived by his brother, Bob Clemens and sister, Pearl Tofanelli; son, Kurt Clemens; step son, John Pierson; step daughter, Carolyn Lacy; grand daughters, Shelby McCabe, Kristin Perrone, Dana Rivera, Molly Osborn; grandsons, Wes and Dan Pierson, Paul and Scott Hanna; and ten great grand children.
Memorial Service to be held Wednesday, July 3, 12:30 PM, First Christian Church, 1207 Main St., Huntington Beach, CA. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Wounded Warriors Project.
Published in Orange County Register on June 26, 2013