CUMBERLAND HEAD — Lt. Col. (USAF Ret.) George E. Clifford Jr., Lighthouse Expert, 81, formerly of Cumberland Head, died of natural causes on Feb. 6, 2014, at the Meadowbrook Healthcare Facility.
George was well-known for his involvement in many local and civic organizations. He formed Cumberland Head Tomorrow, a citizen's watchdog group to focus on the importance of the old lighthouses on Lake Champlain; and was instrumental in working with the Coast Guard to return the lights to the lighthouses as they turned to solar-power lights. He wrote and published a booklet about the Lake Champlain lighthouses in 1999.
George became a Cumberland Head volunteer fireman and later a fire department commissioner. He served the Cumberland Head District for over 20 years. He was also appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals in 1979, appointed as Chairperson in 1992, and resigned from the Board in 2005.
George was born Aug. 10, 1932, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of the late George E. Clifford of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Margaret Mackoy Clifford of Covington, Ky. His father was a World War I pilot, having traveled to Toronto to sign up with the Royal Flying Corps., after the sinking of the Lusitania. George went to Phillips Andover Academy in Andover, Mass., and then attended Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie-Mellon.) He wanted to be a pilot and became one in 1953. George flew Saber Jet F-8's, Super Saber F-100's and Saber F-3's for the United States Air Force. He was stationed in Laon, France; in Berlin during the construction of the Berlin wall; Tripoli during the Gadafi coupe; and in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. He was then based in Washington; where, among other duties, he was an Air Force aide to the White House during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. His last tour of duty was in Plattsburgh. He retired as a Lt. Col. In 1973, and purchased his home on Cumberland Head.