P. Clift Price, M.D.
(Born February 8, 1924 in Bonham --Deceased February 19, 2021 in Austin)
Pinckney Clift Price was born on February 8, 1924 in Bonham, Texas to Lucie Clift and Pinckney Bryan Price, and died on February 19, 2021 at Westminster Manor in Austin, having recently celebrated his 97th birthday via Zoom with his large loving extended family.
Based on the tradition over four generations of the Price lineage, the first born male child took the first name Pinckney and then his mother's maiden name as his middle name: Clift. During a family move to Vernon, TX, however, at the age of 14, he asked everyone to call him Clift instead of Pinckney due to the intolerable nicknames he endured at school. Dad said thankfully, from then on, he was known as Clift Price. The large extended family cherished him as a child in Honey Grove and then around Texas and Arkansas as the family moved with his father's work as a highway construction engineer. Clift's father, Pinckney Bryan, had a degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University, where his Dad was also a popular Yell Leader and member of the Aggie Corps. Eventually Clift was blessed with a younger brother, William Henry, and sister, Nancy Ellen.
During the depression, in 1938, the Price family moved to Dallas, where he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1940, and then moved to the north university area of Austin, where he and his siblings would be near enough to walk to the University of Texas. At the age of 16, Clift entered the University of Texas at Austin where he excelled academically on the pre-med GI Bill and graduated in 1943. At UT Clift was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Tejas Club, Texas Cowboys, and was elected to the Friars Society, after being named one of four Outstanding UT seniors due to his excellent scholarship and campus leadership. Clift met his first love, Gloria Verre Coryell, in 1943 at a dance at Gregory Gym where a skinny man with a fabulous voice named Frank Sinatra performed. Clift and Gloria dated steadily until they married on May 8, 1945. While attending UT, upon learning of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 Dad said, "Every able bodied young man volunteered for service as soon as possible. I had to wait until the spring of 1942 when I turned eighteen."
After medical training at UT Medical Branch, internship in Philadelphia, and pediatric residency in Galveston, Clift served as a Navy medical officer on a troop carrier and one of only two doctors on a battleship during the Korean Conflict. When his tour in the Navy ended in March 1953, Clift and Gloria and their two children Bradley Bryan and Priscilla Coryell returned to Austin where he started his pediatric practice, joining the Children's Medical Center on West 30th. In Austin the family grew to include a new daughter, Nancigale Price, and a new brother, Lewis Clift Price. In 1977 after 24 years in private practice he left to become the chief of Texas Maternal and Child Health, and later Associate Commissioner of Personal Health Service for the Texas Health Department (1980-1990). During this period, Clift traveled to Russia and China where he met with other doctors and instructed them on more hygienic modern practices and, in turn, learned about successful Far East medical practices such as acupuncture. Upon his retirement from the Health Department, Clift went on to do pro bono lobbying for the Texas Pediatric Society (1990-1997) during which he continued his lifelong efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of all Texas children. During his pediatric practice, Clift help lead Austin's campaign to fluoridate the city's water supply. This science-based practice met with great resistance as a supposed example of government overreach. At great personal expense, Dr. Price persevered, finally got it approved by the city council and Mayor Roy Butler. Within a year, children in Austin began to have fewer cavities.
After 36 years of marriage, Clift and Gloria divorced but remained good friends and shared frequent family reunions, birthdays, graduations, and other meaningful life events. He later married Suzanne Cahoon Arnold in 1983. This happy union blessed Clift with three loving step-daughters: Suzanne Arnold Veselis, Donna Arnold Winstead, and Annie Arnold Lancaster.
During his long and distinguished career focused on child and maternal health, Clift helped lead memberships in the following organizations: Longtime elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church and many year active member of Tarrytown United Methodist Church; Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, Travis County Medical Society (President 1968-69), Texas Pediatric Society (President 1975-76), American Board of Pediatrics, Fellow American Academy of Pediatrics, and Fellow College of Physician (Philadelphia). Clift believed deeply in volunteer and community service and led by example. Consequently, he served on many other Boards in Texas including CEDEN Family Resource Center (President, 1986-89), Center for Child Protection, (1996-2000), Any Baby Can Foundation, Austin Parks Foundation, (1992-95), Barbara Jordan Foundation, Texan's Care for Children Association, Texas Pediatric Society Foundation, SAGE Lifetime Learning (Chair), Westwood Country Club (Charter member), Tarry House, Austin's Commodore Club, and Headliners Club. He was a founding member and past president of the Austin University Rotary Club and past District Governor Rotary District 5870. As an example of his lifelong focus on children's health, Clift worked for years to help the Rotary Club build a tuberculosis clinic in Reynosa, Mexico, and early on in his career volunteered to care for children with polio at the Gonzales Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital. Another powerful force in Clift's life was his deep dedication to improving literacy for all children. He was a founding member of Springboard – which eventually merged with Reading is Fundamental (RIF). Clift was proud to have helped start Reach Out and Read, (1990-1995) where he gave young children a book and a prescription to their parents' to read every day to their child. Many pediatricians across Texas and the US now follow this practice.
Clift was also a big believer in the life sustaining benefits of regular and vigorous exercise. He and some close friends were the first to jog on the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail. He was a charter member of Westwood Country Club where he regularly played tennis (well into his early 90's), swam and lifted weights (practices he continued until just last year at Westminster). Clift was also an avid sailor and was a founding member of the Austin Yacht Club and past Commodore where his beloved Ensign sailboat is still moored. Another powerful force in Clift's long and wonderful life was devotion to all things UT and burnt orange. He was a Life member of UT Ex-Students Association, season ticket holder for 7 decades of the UT baseball, basketball, and football. As he lay dying, his loving family all flashed the Hook 'Em Horns sign, sang the Eyes of Texas, and the Texas Fight song, as he tried to raise his fingers too. Our father was also a world class traveler – having visited six of the seven continents. And even after surviving a near fatal car crash eight years ago, he and wife Sue were able to wave to Antarctica from their cruise ship as they rounded Tierra del Fuego on their final overseas trip.
Dr. Price was predeceased by his first wife, Gloria Price Pfluger, grandson Price Malone, brother William Clift Price, and sister Nancy Price Bowman. He is survived by his wife, Sue Cahoon Arnold Price, sons Bradley Price (Inez) and Lewis Price (Joany) and daughters Coryell Price Malone Duty (David), and Nan Price Cardiel (Miguel); three step daughters, Donna Winstead (Jim), Suzanne Veselis (Bob), Annie Lancaster (Charlie); eight grandchildren: Patrick Malone (Jocelyn), Stephen Price (Medwyn), Matthew Price, Paige Higman (Marty), Fran Cardiel, Josh Price, Meredith Massey Kloetzer (Justin), Madeline Massey Carl (Ty); eight step grandchildren: Sarah Lancaster and Charlotte Russell (Michael), Dr. Clinton Veselis (Bridgette), Meaghan Veselis, Ashley Veselis, and Skyler Veselis, Christopher Winstead (Shauna) and Catherine Winstead; four great grandchildren: Carlos Price, Pearl Price, PJ Malone, and Holly Malone; one step great grandchild: Rhys Winstead and much loved nieces and nephews. The events of recent months during the pandemic should serve to remind us all what Dr. Clift Price taught so many--to live each moment we have in life to the fullest, to be resilient, and to find the silver lining in every cloud we face. He was blessed with the ability to always be alive in the present. He delighted constantly in the big and small things in life - a daily sunset, a billowy cloud, a juicy hamburger, or a crisp, cool dry martini. If every person in this great country of ours were as kind, empathetic, and generous as our father, Dr. Clift Price, we would all be more dedicated to caring for each other and the world would be a better place.
A private graveside service for the family was held on Saturday, 2/27/21 at Austin Memorial Park. Pall bearers were: Bradley Price, Lewis Price, Stephen Price, Matthew Price, Josh Price, Patrick Malone, and David Duty. We will hold a virtual public memorial service in his honor at 3PM on Saturday, 3/6/21. The link and livestream will be available at tumcaustin.church/funerals.
In place of flowers, please send memorial donations to:
Reading is Fundamental: rif.org
Reach Out and Read: reachoutandread.org
Rotary Club Foundation, Austin University Area: email@example.com
Austin History Center: PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768-2287
Remembrances may be shared at www.wcfish.com