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Clifford B. DudleyApril 11, 1941 ~ June 30, 2017 (age 76)
Decatur ~ Clifford B. Dudley, 76, of Decatur, went to be with his Lord, Friday, June 30, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Funeral is 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur. Family will receive friends Monday, July 3, 2017 at the funeral home.
Rev. Brian Bosworth will officiate.
Cliff was born on April 11, 1941 to CLyde and Agnes (Hurlburt) Dudley in Kansas City, Missouri. He grew up with his parents in the city, but he loved the cowboy life and spent as much time as possible at a relative’s ranch working with horses. He loved to hunt and fish with his father and spoke of it frequently.
Cliff played football and graduated from Wyandotte High School in Kansas City. He then went to college at Tulsa University in Oklahoma where he met Liz and then they were engaged.
Cliff joined the Army in 1963 and was based in Germany, assigned to Intelligence during the Cold War. Cliff spent his time undercover blending in with the civilian population why gaining information about in preparation of a Russian invasion. Cliff did not wear his uniform and did not get to proudly wear his Sgt/E-5 stripes. Despite getting jumped and beat up by 2 locals who assumed he was American, Cliff did not fight in combat. Cliff was like many soldiers who volunteer, do their job, go back to civilian life, and move on. Cliff left the Army in 1966 after his initial service.
Cliff returned to Tulsa and married Liz in November, 19 1966. They spent much time camping, canoeing, and fishing. They moved to Hutchinson, KS following Cliff’s job in the petroleum business.
They had their only son, Warren in 1972.
Cliff had the strong urge to move to the country and live the cowboy life so they did so in 1977, moving to a small ranch, 7 miles outside of Hutchinson.
They bought horses and Cliff’s buddy Billy Goat, took in many stray cats and dogs, learned about ranching, and raised Warren the way Cliff had always wanted to grow up. They hunted and fished, but most time and vacations were spent showing horses, rodeoing, or trail rides across Kansas.
Cliff often volunteered at horse events as the announcer, gate keeper, or other capacity. Cliff’s niece Cat Davis reminded us of her experience falling off a horse and somehow Cliff ran from about 50 yards away to catch her, dust her off, and put her right back on so she wouldn’t be scared. Cliff always kept a red or blue bandana tucked in this belt loop to wipe the sweat but many bandanas were sent away with victims of cuts and injuries. No one knows where Cliff got the speed as he was not the runner type of guy. Cliff was always the first to scale a fence or get thru a gate and run to an injured person’s aid well before many even knew what happened.
Warren joined the Army National Guard and rose to the rank of Sgt/E-5 just like Cliff. Warren then married his wife Vicki and they moved to Fort Worth, TX where Vicki was from, to follow his law enforcement career. They have 2 sons, Bryce and Blake.
Cliff and Liz spent as much time as possible with the boys going to activities and teaching them about ranch life and livestock, but time was limited due to living 2 states away.
Cliff and Liz moved to Decatur, TX in 2010 after all the horses, dogs, cats, and other strays had passed on. They wanted to spend as much time as possible with their grandsons in a cowboy community like Decatur. Cliff and Liz attended many hockey games, went fishing, hunting, and boating with their family they now lived near. They joined the First United Methodist Church and it wasn’t long before Cliff was introduced to the Wise County Veteran’s Group. Cliff had never felt like a veteran because he did not serve in combat, but this group of wonderful veterans and their families quickly took them in as they did all veterans who served in the military. It wasn’t about the combat, but the willingness to serve and sacrifice.
Cliff and Liz quickly became embedded it the Decatur life in church, men’s Sunday school class he often led, serving in the veterans group, volunteering at the elementary school, and volunteering at a horse ranch.
It wasn’t long before the Wise County Veterans Group put Cliff’s “younger” self and energy to work as the Commander of the group. He served as Commander for a couple of years and assisted with establishing the Wise County Veterans Museum in Bridgeport, activities at the Wise County Veterans Park, attending services and memorials at the cemetery, posting flags for holidays, and speaking with youth in Decatur schools about military service. Most shocking to the family was his interest in bell ringing at Christmas time by Walmart in Decatur. The vets group doesn’t just ring little hand bells, they bring in a giant bell on a trailer and the city hears it’s time to open-up to those in need.
Cliff befriended many special people, but one was retired Special Forces whose wife is still in active service. They formed a unique friendship as they were a generation apart, but spent time shooting and talking military whenever the chance arose. This year, this special soldier presented Cliff with a custom pistol engraved with the American Flag and Cliff’s Sgt stripes that he never wore during his service. Little did this soldier know that Cliff would pass so soon, but that pistol would be inherited by Warren who was a Sgt in the military and a Sgt retired from police service. This special piece will be cherished forever and will be handed down from generation to generation with a story of service.
Cliff was a simple man with deep religious values and unwavering morals of service to others and American pride. Cliff won’t want you to be sad for him but turn your attention to those in need who need a shoulder to lean on. Cliff did not let medical issues keep him down, he went out on his terms before suffering misery of extended procedures. He chose the time and went out the Cowboy Way -peacefully, quietly, with family surrounding him by his side.
Hawkins Funeral Home ~ Decatur, Texas ~ 940-627-5959
Wise County Veterans Group
P.O. Box 574, Decatur TX 76234