Basketball 04

Robert Leslie Clifford III

December 25, 1950 ~ November 16, 2019 (age 68)


Beloved husband, father, brother, friend, coach, mentor and advisor, Rob passed away on November 16, 2019 after a courageously fought battle with renal carcinoma.  Born on Christmas Day 1950 in Mexia, TX, Robert Leslie Clifford III, always known as Rob, grew up in Center, TX.  Rob matured into an athlete and a scholar, being both Captain of the football team and in the National Honor Society.  Athletic, he played on the golf, basketball and football teams. He also was feature editor of the school newspaper and played the lead part of “Curly” in “Oklahoma”! charming, popular and handsome,  he was voted “Mr. Center High School” in his senior year.  He went to college at Texas Christian University, where he double-majored in Journalism and Education and graduated in 1973. While at TCU he was assistant editor of the school newspaper, a member of Sigma Delta Chi professional journalism society, and Phi Delta Theta fraternity.  In his Junior year, he met his future wife Vicki while working a college job as a lifeguard at a summer camp.  Both had the good sense to know a good thing when they saw it, and neither ever looked back. They were together for 48 years.

   Rob was a stockbroker/investment advisor for over 35 years, retiring from Merrill Lynch in 2015.  He leaves behind many grateful clients, quite a few of whom he served for 30+ years.  His avocation, however, was coaching high school boys basketball.  He coached basketball in the evenings and weekends for over 14 years.  At the Austin Waldorf School in Austin, TX,  he took the team to the state play-offs every year for eight seasons, including the Final Four in the 2010- 2011 season.  His overall record there was 197 wins to 69 losses.  After moving to Santa Fe, NM he coached basketball at the Santa Fe Waldorf School for six seasons, taking the team to the State Quarter Finals three of the six years.  One of his greatest joys was staying in touch with former players and feeling that he had played a role in shaping them into becoming good men.

    He was a good man, a family man.  A present and involved father, his sons still groan over puns and jokes he would invent to amuse (torture!) them at the dinner table.  He was a devoted husband who never, ever forgot to bring home dark chocolate on special occasions.  Rob loved New Mexico and enjoyed playing golf, playing guitar and singing, traveling, following local high school sports, exploring the history and cultures of the area, socializing with friends, eating tons of green chile, and dog park adventures with his dog Quanah and all of his dog park buddies.

    This brief obituary doesn’t begin to convey the essence of the man.  He was kind, funny, generous, trustworthy, loving, loyal, smart and charming.  He was an athlete, a whiz with numbers, a wordsmith and a musician.  He was beloved by many, and we miss him terribly.  He is survived by his wife Vicki of Santa Fe, NM, his son Greyson (and wife Morgan and grandson Waylon) of Breckenridge, CO, his son Daniel (and wife Jennifer and grandchildren Aman and Ruth) of Manitou Springs, CO, and his sister and brother-in-law Carol and David Turner of DeBerry, TX (and nephew Cliff Turner of St. Louis, MO and niece Leslie Turner of Austin,TX).

    The family sincerely wishes to thank Dr. Malcolm Purdy, MD Anderson Cancer Center, St. Vincent’s Hospital Palliative Care and Discharge Planning Departments,  Beehive Homes Assisted Living and Ambercare Hospice for the kind and humane care they provided during these difficult times.

    In honor of Rob’s life, please make a donation to a youth charity of your choice. At Rob’s request, a private Memorial service is being planned for the spring “when the Western Tanagers are here”.

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