Clifton Jeffers

Clifton Jeffers, Esquire

Attorney Clifton Reed Jeffers, 79, passed away Friday, December 6, 2013, at Bel Haven Care in Fresno.


Clifton was born in Roxboro, North Carolina, to Theron and Clara Bullock Jeffers.  Clifton attended Lee Jeffers Elementary School and Person County High School in Roxboro.  After graduating from high school, Clifton attended Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude in 1956.


Clifton joined the United States Air Force in 1956.  As a commissioned officer, he embarked upon a three-year tour of duty in the Defense Command attaining the rank of captain.  During his last year of military service while stationed in the Bay Area, Clifton decided to attend University of California's Hastings Law School, and entered Hastings in September 1960. 


Clifton earned a law degree in June 1964, passed the California Bar Examination in August of that year, and was employed by the California Attorney General's Office.  In 1969, Jeffers was appointed Assistant Regional Director for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Region IX.  Among the fair housing victories of his tenure was the United States Supreme Court landmark case of Traffieante vs. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in which the Court accepted and cited Jeffers' administrative interpretation of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. 


In 1976, Clifton left HUD to establish and direct the San Francisco Office of California's State Public Defender.  There he supervised a staff of 26 attorneys in representing indigent criminal defendants in state and federal appellate courts.  National media coverage of Jeffers' successful appeal in highly controversial cases landed him an appearance on the CBS program "60 Minutes."


Clifton became a member of Third Baptist Church in 1960.  At Third Baptist he served on the Board of Trustees, on F.D. Haynes Gardens Board of Directors, on the Development and Expansion Committee, and as the church's legal counsel.


In the civic arena, Clifton was a Life Member of the NAACP and served as president of the local chapter, was a member of the San Francisco Economic Opportunity Council, Ocean Mission Ingleside Community Association, and was co-founder and member of the Black Leadership Forum.


Some of Jeffers' professional affiliations included membership in the San Francisco Bar Association, Charles Houston Bar Association, American Judicature Society, California Association of Black Lawyers, and founder and former president of William H. Hastie Lawyers' Association of San Francisco.  Attorney Jeffers ended his career with the law firm of James, Jeffers and Williams.


Clifton was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 47 years, Mary, and nine siblings.  He is survived by a loving son, Kwame Jeffers; one sister, Akola Powell; many nieces; nephews; cousins; and friends. 


Services will be held on Friday, December 20, 2013, at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister Street.  Viewing is from 10 AM until 11 AM.  Services will begin at 11 AM.  Interment:  Cypress Lawn Memorial Park,  Colma, CA.  Funeral Arrangements Entrusted to The Bryant Mortuary 635 Fulton Street San Francisco, CA 94102 415/861-4559  www.bryantmortuary.com


Funeral Home

Bryant Mortuary
635 Fulton St San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 861-4559
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 18, 2013