HAMPSTEAD — At the age of 96, our family’s patriarch and WWII D-Day hero, Clifford Aden Goodall, Sr. of Hampstead, reunited with his beloved wife of 65 years, Barbara (née Killoran), who predeceased him in 2015. Clifford was also predeceased by three of his children, Deborah Ann (1954), Susan Marie (1956), and Judith Anne (1958), as well as five of his siblings and their spouses: Eileen Byron (Robert); Jean Platt (Marc); Joan Delaney (William); Helen Tenuta (Robert); and James (Carole).
Clifford is survived by a son, Clifford Aden Goodall, Jr. (Sharon Gray) of Florida; a daughter, Patricia Goodall Strawderman (Dennis) of Virginia; and two grandchildren, Dennis “Patrick” Strawderman (Lila Hussain) of California and Mary Margaret “Megan” Strawderman of Virginia. He is also survived by his youngest sister, Kathleen Sorrentino (Phil). He leaves behind a large extended family of cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, Canadian relatives in Hamilton, and an incredible collection of friends.
Clifford was born in 1925 in Chicago, Illinois to Clifford Aden Goodall (then Sr.) and Helen (née Garvey). He was their first child but would not be their last: a total of 7 siblings and 2 parents shared a modest bungalow in Elmwood Park – with one bathroom, a fact he mentioned quite often! However, at the time that he joined the United States Navy on April 22, 1943, Kathleen, the baby, had not yet arrived (and in a charming, related story, she was the reason that Clifford met Barbara).
Clifford was trained as a signalman (using flags / lights / Morse code to communicate ship to ship or ship to land), quickly attaining 2nd Class. Clifford was deployed to England to prepare for the invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944; he came in on the third wave. At the last minute, Clifford was switched from an earlier boat with his signalman buddy, Doug, who was killed in the second wave. It is something that he never got over. Like many WWII and D-Day veterans, he didn’t talk a lot about his experiences until he reunited with some Navy buddies. In 1994, at the invitation of the French government, Clifford returned to Normandy for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day; in 2004, he received the Legion of Honor, France’s highest order of merit, both military and civil. He was later contacted by Veterans Return to Normandy, a French organization that sponsors U.S. WWII and D-Day veterans to return to Normandy, often for the first time since the war. After his first trip with this group, Clifford looked forward to returning every year for a week of parades, luncheons, visiting French school children, and signing lots of autographs! He became very close with his French friends in Normandy, who showered him with France’s genuine gratitude and kindness.
Clifford and Barbara married on April 22, 1950 and built a life with two children in the suburbs of Chicago. Clifford began his career as a salesman with U.S. Steel Supply before taking a job with Rolled Alloys, Inc. and moving the family to the East Coast, landing in Somerville, New Jersey. Though he had caddied as a young teen, his lifelong love of golf was sparked during this time, and he became a skilled golfer. Clifford often “shot his age” and made a hole in one at Belvedere, his home golf course in Hampstead – at the age of 93! He also began crafting custom golf clubs as a hobby. In addition to golf, he enjoyed a wide variety of sports throughout his life, including baseball, volleyball, bowling, ping pong, and even curling! Clifford was a lifelong Bears and Cubs fan. Clifford and Barbara both enjoyed Dixieland Jazz and personally knew Joseph Tarto, a 1930s jazz musician who played at venues in New Jersey.
Clifford had lots of interesting, funny, and amazing stories about his life growing up in Chicago, serving in the Navy, working for two major steel companies, raising a family in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and then retiring to a golf course in North Carolina. If you knew Clifford, you have probably heard a story or two. At least.
Clifford grew up in a family of devout Catholics who supported their parish church and community, literally helping to build the local church and school in Elmwood Park. As a member of All Saints Catholic Church in Hampstead for 34 years, Clifford served as a long-time usher for Saturday evening Mass and was active with the Knights of Columbus.
A funeral for Clifford will be held on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 11 AM at All Saints Catholic Church, 18737 US-17, Hampstead, North Carolina, 28443. A service for Clifford will also be held at St. Celestine’s Catholic Church in Elmwood Park on December 20, 2021 at 10 AM.
For those who wish to make a memorial contribution, the family invites you to consider two organizations that he loved, as well as Bon Secours Community Hospice House whose staff took loving care of Clifford as he transitioned peacefully from this earth.
– NATIONAL D-DAY MEMORIAL
3 Overlord Circle, Bedford, Virginia 24523; 540/586-3329
– VETERANS BACK TO NORMANDY
(Retour des vétérans en Normandie), 30 ter village Bourgogne, 50770 Pirou, France
Valerie Gautier Cardin
– BON SECOURS COMMUNITY HOSPICE HOUSE
1133 Old Bon Air Road, Richmond, VA 23235, 804/627-5360
Clifford had a signature goodbye slogan for everyone. No matter who it was, or where they were, as he was saying goodbye, his final words were always, “KEEP SMILING!”