This Saturday, Puerto Peñasco friends and family of Rodger Clifton will have the opportunity to remember his bright eyes, fantastic laugh, and mischievous manner by sharing in a celebration of his life, spirit, and giving back to this community that he adored. Yes, he would’ve gotten a kick out of doing this on April Fool’s Day – no joke! The Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, April 1st 3 pm – 7 pm at Quinta Ventura Event hall.
CLIFTON, Rodger Joseph 81, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on January 5th, 2017. Rodger was born in Pontiac, MI on December 9th, 1935. Rodger is preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Louise Clifton; his brother, Tommy Clifton; his sister, Mary Ann Clifton and his Gentle Giant son, Brian Christopher Clifton. Rodger is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Jeanette E. Clifton, whom he called his “precious yum yum,” sister-in-law, Donna Clifton (widow of Tommy); sister, Nancy (Frank) Lozzi; brother, Art (Karen) Clifton; sons, Patrick (Chris) Clifton, Michael (Jeanne) Clifton, Lisa Clifton (widow of Brian), Matthew (Kim) Clifton and the sparkle of his eyes his ten grandchildren, Brittany (Robby) Marycz, Sean Clifton, Ian (Hailey) Clifton, Caitlin Clifton, Kelly Clifton, Melisa Clifton, Mikey Clifton, Jadon Clifton, Matthew Yates and Adam Clifton and many nieces and nephews. Before Rodger’s passing he received the joyous news that a “great grandbaby” was on the way.
Rodger filled his 81 years of life well. “Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for Monks.” This quote from Robert Heinlein was Rodger’s mantra. He worked hard and played hard, accomplishing great success in all aspects of his life. He touched many lives with his friendship, mentoring, generosity of spirit and his incredible philanthropy. Rodger was an entrepreneur who had a “gift of gab” and an ability to sell anything. Using his business degree from Eastern Michigan University, he began his career in Michigan with Texaco then quickly venturing on his own with Gripe-Clifton Oil Company, building the enterprise into the largest fuel oil distributor in Southern Michigan. Staying with the car theme, he also opened a chain of tire stores and even got to sponsor his own NASCAR. During a trip to Tucson in the winter of 1974, Rodger saw the wisdom in leaving Michigan for warm desert and moved the family here. His first real estate company was Century 21 Frontier Realty which quickly became the #1 franchise for C-21 in North America. His next business venture was Clifton Investment Company which acquired, developed and managed over 5000 apartment units and commercial properties in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
In the early 90’s Rodger and Jeanette “retired” to Rocky Point, Puerto Penasco, MX. Almost immediately they opened First Mexican Investments with their partner, Compadre and 5th son, Enrique (Carmen) Rodriguez. So much for retirement. There is no doubt that Rodger was a successful businessman, but it was his generosity of spirit and his philanthropy that set him apart as a human being. From the time he began his first company in Michigan, Rodger and Jeanette spent most of their money, time and energy helping those less fortunate. Rodger and Jeanette were instrumental with many projects including an orphanage in Altar, Mexico, “Casa Hogar” a home for the elderly in Puerto Penasco and assisting Amore Ministries in the community which brought many groups together to build over 2000 homes for those in need. One of their most unique projects was instructing students from the Penasco middle schools to build “Earthship” houses out of tires, cans and sand and showing them the benefits of recycling. Mexico was not the only place that benefited from Rodger and Jeanette’s huge hearts.
Their latest projects in Tucson have been the Santa Maria Soup Kitchen and Sister Jose Women’s Center which they have been raising funds to construct a new building. There are no words to summarize the life of Rodger Joseph Clifton. His life’s accomplishments were not his business successes, but rather the way he was able to connect with people. Rodger made people believe in themselves and truly loved life. Always the leader, Rodger inspired innumerable individuals during his 81 years on earth. His kindness, love, humor and zest for life will live on through those who were fortunate enough to have known him. A Celebration of Rodger’s life is to be held in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora on April 1st, 2017. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to José Dávalos Valdivia Casa Hogar and/or the Albergue Infantíl Amores de Peñasco.