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Clifford Wilson


Clifford Wilson

Clifford Owen Wilson, 89, of Goldendale, died of heart failure at the Oregon Veterans' Home in The Dalles on Thursday, November 6, 2014.

He was born in Centerville, Washington on January 24, 1925, to Vivian Matta of Centerville and James A. Wilson previously from Steptoe. Clifford grew up and worked on the family farm in Centerville. His grandfather, Adolph, grandmother, Kaisa Sophia, and uncle Herman Matta immigrated from Kuusamo, Finland, in the 1890's. He attended and graduated from Centerville Elementary and graduated in 1944 from Goldendale High School.

He had many lifelong friends, Virgil (Pete) Anderson, Harvey Wilson, Jerry Miller, Cliff Culver, and his high school sweetheart, Janice Spalding. He loved basketball, playing with the Centerville Midges, Cagers, Goldendale High, and the city team of Goldendale. He spent most Saturdays and Sundays watching basketball, football or baseball. After high school, he joined the army but was given a medical discharged due to a heart condition.

In 1951, Clifford married Mabel Carson Spalding of Goldendale and became the stepfather to her two daughters from her marriage to the late Wayne Spalding. He and Mabel had three children of their own, Rebecca in 1952, Cliff in 1953, and Clay in 1955.

Cliff worked as a lineman, initially for John M. King Co. On Oct. 15, 1963 he fell 75-80 feet from an electrical tower. He sustained injuries which entailed a long rehabilitation. He was able to continue his career as a lineman and eventually became a chief inspector for Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).

In 1979, he married Dorothy Elsberry Ritter of Ellensburg, WA. While working for BPA he and Dorothy traveled extensively throughout the Northwest, living in Lewiston, Bend, Lost Pines, Rufus, The Dalles, Ellensburg, and Chewelah.

Cliff was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers for 60 years and of the American Legion for 44 years. After 33 years with the BPA, he retired in 1995 at the age of 70. Once retired, he and Dorothy enjoyed their life in their home in Goldendale. Cliff mended fences on the family farm, building 19 rockjacks. To this day, the homestead and land continues to be farmed thanks to the hard work of Neil Kayser and previously of Richard Randall.

Clifford is predeceased by his wife Dorothy Ann Wilson, stepdaughters, Constance Spalding Hurlbert and Cheryl Spalding Robison, and granddaughter, Erika Salinas, brother-in-law, Lawrence Cagle, and former spouse, Mabel Marie Wilson. He is survived by his three children (daughter, Rebecca and her husband Gary Gagliardi, of Las Vegas, Nevada, his sons, Clifford Wilson Jr. of Goldendale and Clay Wilson of Federal Way, Washington) his sister (Joanna Cagle and husband Ben Butterfield of Chandler, Arizona), his four stepchildren (Patricia Ritter, of Chandler, Arizona, Kenneth Ritter, John Ritter, and Lisa and her husband Dave Granger of Ellensburg, Washington), his great-grandsons (Isaac Larson and Kaden Salinas of Portland, Oregon), niece Roxanne Bachler and her family of Winlock, WA and nephew David Cagle and his family of Chandler, Arizona.

Graveside services will be held on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at the Centerville Cemetery, Centerville, Washington held by Columbia Hills Memorial Chapel with Pastor Ken Akins officiating. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association of Washington.

The family would like to express special thanks to those individuals at the Oregon Veterans' Home who provided special care and comfort to Clifford over the past three years. Also, we appreciate the care given by Providence Hospice.


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