Cover photo for Dr. William R. "Rick" Clifton's Obituary
Dr. William R. "Rick" Clifton Profile Photo

Dr. William R. "Rick" Clifton

October 17, 1957 — August 25, 2023

Coatesville

Dr. William R. "Rick" Clifton

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Dr. William Richard “Rick” Clifton, age 65, of Coatesville, PA, passed away on August 25, 2023.

Born in Detroit, MI, he was the son of the late William Howard and Shelbia (née Bates) Clifton.

Rick was a LTC in the U.S. Army. He took immense pride in serving the country he loved and was so proud of his son’s service to the county as well.  During his lengthy career Rick was deployed multiple times, most prominently serving as a battalion commander in the 24th Infantry Division during Operation Desert Storm. Rick’s myriad contributions were recognized through his myriad of professional awards and decorations.  These included the Legion of Merit award, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars, Humanitarian Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Medal (2 awards - Kuwait and Saudi Arabia), and the Army Parachutist Badge. After his distinguished military career, LTC Clifton continued his service as a consultant in both Iraq and the Republic of Georgia.  Over several years’ service as an advisor to the Georgian military, Rick discovered a deep love new found friends in the city of Tbilisi and for the city itself.  He would subsequently refer to it as his second home.

Rick was deeply committed to the principle that education is a lifelong endeavor; he would eventually earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, a Master’s Degree in Political Science, and PhD in Educational Psychology.  He further demonstrated this commitment by passing these values on to future generations while serving, first, in school administrative positions in both North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and, then, as an Adjunct Professor at Delaware County Community College.

Rick was many-talented and displayed the restless spirit’s drive to discover new achievements:   he was a black belt martial artist, an avid rose gardener, a beekeeper, and played bass guitar in a local band. Rick was an exceptional communicator, often called upon by organizations to enrich and entertain others.  Rick never seemed able to sit still; he was always striving to experience new things.

Rick’s pride and joy in life was his family, especially his granddaughters Lily and Emma; his favorite occupation was doting on them, ensuring that they wanted for naught.  The highlight of Rick’s week was the time spent with them; he never missed an opportunity for a walk or a trip to the garden or yard.   Rick was so grateful that he had the opportunity to be able to watch over the girls and spoil them while their parents were at work. Rick was deservedly proud of his daughter-in-law, Jen, and was always amazed at how she could manage these two crazy girls all day. Rick devoted every remaining effort to ensuring that Debbie, his wife of 43 years, was cherished each and every day. 

Rick was the beloved husband of Deborah S. “Debbie” (nee Gum) Clifton; loving father of Daniel Clifton (Jennifer); adoring “Poppy” of Lily and Emma; caring brother of Lori Gibbons (John); devoted uncle of Ryan and Corey Gibbons; and dutiful son-in-law to Dolores Little.

Relatives and friends are invited to his Visitation 10:00-11:00 AM on Tuesday, September 5, 2023 at The Donohue Funeral Home, 43 West Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, PA 19335, followed by Words of Remembrance at 11:00 AM. Military Honors will be held after the Words of Remembrance.

His service will be livestreamed at  HERE

In lieu of flowers, contributions to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516, woundedwarriorproject.org, or any organization of your choice that supports Veterans.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. William R. "Rick" Clifton, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Donohue Funeral Home - Downingtown

43 W. Lancaster Ave, Downingtown, PA 19335

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Words of Remembrance

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Donohue Funeral Home - Downingtown

43 W. Lancaster Ave, Downingtown, PA 19335

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Military Honors

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Starts at 11:30 am (Eastern time)

Donohue Funeral Home - Downingtown

43 W. Lancaster Ave, Downingtown, PA 19335

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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