Richard Arthur Clifford — husband, father, grandpa, great-grandpa, brother, uncle, and friend — passed away and returned to his Heavenly Father on November 24, 2022. He was 83 years old.
Always the ultimate Scout, Richard embodied the traits in the Scout law - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
Born on April 22, 1939, to Arthur Harris Clifford and Ruth Langdon Clifford, he was the eldest of five siblings and was a first-rate leader, protector and example to his brothers and sister. Richard was the man of the house when his father was away for military or work duty. Having grown up in a modest home, hard work was instilled at a young age. As a twelve-year-old boy he began selling newspapers for the Deseret News to help buy a TV for the household and save for his LDS mission. He worked on the corner of Main Street and South Temple outside the West door of the then Hotel Utah which is now the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. During his teens he also worked in the produce department at Albertsons grocery store. This nurtured his interest in growing things — fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants — and gardening.
In 1957, Richard graduated from West High School, joined the Army Reserves, and spent six months at Fort Ord near Monterey, California for military training. The following year he returned home and enrolled at the University of Utah while working at the Salt Lake City Cemetery. In June of 1959 he began a two-year mission in Canada under the guidance of then mission president, Thomas S. Monson. Upon returning from his mission, he started working for Hercules Powder Company/Hercules Incorporated, Aerospace Division at Bacchus Works which had a large facility/plant in Magna, Utah. Richard went on to have a 37-year career as a safety engineer at the company and saw many employees come and go as it went through business acquisitions and mergers. At the time of retirement he was the Titan IV SRMU Safety Manager for Alliant Techsystems Inc.
Richard married Janet May Dunlop on September 27, 1963, in the Salt Lake City temple. During their 59 years of marriage, they lived in Rose Park — always within a one block radius — and the couple went on to have seven children. They were highly active in their ward and community and fulfilled multiple church callings. Richard served as first and second counselor in many bishoprics and was the bishop of the 29th Ward from 1978 to1984. As an Eagle Scout and then Scoutmaster for decades, scouting was a core activity in Richard's life and Janet supported him through it all. Whether it was coming along on campouts when needed, cooking for the annual 4th of July Scout breakfast, setting up and taking down flags in the neighborhood or watching him be honored with the Silver Beaver award, she was right there by his side. Together they produced twenty-five road shows. Richard designed and built many sets and props that Janet dreamed up. He reminded her more than once that he was not Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Their last major adventure together was when they served in the mission office at the Albuquerque, New Mexico mission from 2010 to 2012.
Richard was a walking encyclopedia. He was smart — very smart — and knew a lot about everything and wasn't shy to share his knowledge with others. He was a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, National Geographic Society and The Planetary Society. His higher education took a back seat in his early 20's while he was providing for his family, but that didn't stop him from going back to college later in life and earning his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He was active in family history and genealogical work, had written many family works and authored a few books. His research has led the way to help redeem those who have passed on.
Richard is survived by his wife Janet, sons Gordon (Kristine) and Patrick (Diane), daughters Jenny (Pablo) Rico, Bridget (Terrance) Davis, Katie Walker, Ruthanne (Paul) Kerr, Rebecca (Norman) Cruz, twenty-four grandchildren, eight great- grandchildren, brothers Kenneth (Colleen) and Thomas (Kathleen), sister Connie Allred and sister-in-law Cynthia.
He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Roger, brother-in-law Art Allred and four great-grandsons.
Services will be held Saturday, December 3, 2022, at the Riverside Stake Center located at 1148 West 500 North, Salt Lake City, UT 84116. Viewing from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. followed by funeral services at 1 p.m. The burial will be at the Salt Lake City Cemetery immediately following the funeral.
Services will be streamed live on the Russon Brothers Mortuary Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin about 10-15 minutes prior to the service and will be posted below.