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In loving memory of
Clifford V. Heiser, Jr.
  • June 17, 1933
  • -
  • October 10, 2019

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Gone is the smile, the jokes, the friendly handshake, the hearty welcome.  Remaining is the broken heart, the sorrow, the emptiness, the grieving.

On October 10, 2019, Clifford Venable Heiser, 86, died peacefully in the arms of his loving wife, surrounded by family, at his home in Port Charlotte, FL.  He leaves a void in the hearts of friends in New Jersey and Virginia, where he had lived for many years.

Cliff was born on June 17, 1933, in Newark, New Jersey to Clifford and Dorothy Messeroll Heiser.  Upon graduation from Caldwell High School, he enlisted in the US Air Force, serving during the Korean War era as a control tower operator in the then territory of Alaska.

After attending Rutgers University, he utilized is people skills with great success as claims supervisor in the insurance industry until his retirement.

To volunteer and serve were a mainstay for Cliff.  From 1962-1975 he served as 1st Assistant Chief of the West Caldwell, NJ, Volunteer Fire Department, which flew the mourning banner at the firehouse in his memory.  We thank them for that honor.

As a member of the Kiwanis in NJ and Urbanna, VA, he was very proud to be serving as President when women were first admitted into the organization.  For many years Cliff also volunteered at the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda, helping to move it twice and watching it grow from 2 small rooms in Fisherman’s Village to its present beautiful home.  He was also a member of the American Legion Post 110.  With deep respect for the military, Cliff actively participated in functions of Ukrainian American Veterans Post # 40 in his adopted Ukrainian community in North Port.

Since early childhood, flying and airplanes were front and center for Cliff, whether flying family on jaunts up the East Coast or building model airplanes.  He enjoyed being a member of the Charlotte County Modelers and built models ranging from balsa wood to static line to radio controlled.  The living room was consigned as his personal airplane hangar.

Cliff’s love of music ran the gamut from big bands to opera, and he appreciated every genre.  While moonlighting as a guitar instructor, he met the love of his life, who would tease him with “the only reason I went out with you was to get free guitar lessons”.

Fishing and cruising in his classic wooden boats were pure joy for Cliff.  Many evenings were spent saluting the glorious sunsets over Charlotte Harbor with champagne while regaling his friends and family with fishing stories and whopper tales. Even those who knew him well, were never quite sure whether he was pulling their leg.

Not one to let moss grow under his feet, upon retirement, Cliff obtained a competition racing license and raced his vintage Datsun 240Z at Summit Point, WVA, Road Atlanta, Sebring and Daytona.  He was member of the Gulf Coast Autocross, Class Champion in 2001, raced with SCCA and an official instructor for the National Auto Sport Association.

Cliff was a kind, caring and compassionate gentleman with a wicked sense of humor.  He was the proud owner of 3 different licenses: pilot, charter boat captain and car racing.  And so he has played his last song, caught his last fish, raced his last lap and landed his last plane.  He will be sorely missed by many, many friends who loved him, especially his dog, Chippy.

Cliff is survived by his wife of 45 years, Lieda Boyko, daughter Carrie DelVecchio and grandson Michael LaDonne of New Jersey, brother-in-law Bohdan Boyko with wife Anne Johnson, niece Ginny and nephew Michael Boyko of Williamsburg and sister-in-law Olena Boyko of Urbanna, VA.

Memorial contributions may be made online to Revived Soldiers Ukraine, rsukaine.org or mailed to Revived Soldiers Ukraine, c/o Iryna Discipio, 9542 Tavistock Rd, Orlando, FL 32827, to support treatment of Ukrainian wounded warriors in the US.

You may share a memory with the family at baldwincremation.com.  A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.


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  1. Paul and Pam Wosny says:
    04 Nov 2019
    Dear Lieda & family,
    What a beautiful tribute you have written for your beloved hero Cliff. You touched on so many details of his long and exciting, but more importantly, his happy life. When you think you know a person, there's always something else you don't. Cliff was so well-rounded and very clever. We all know the funny Cliff. He always had something to share and make you laugh, or have you baffled on whether the story was true or not. Leave you scratching your head. If you were lucky enough, you also got to know his serious, compassionate, and genuine side. The Uncle Cliffie side. Everyone should have an Uncle Cliffie in their life. We are very saddened to have lost a wonderful friend, someone who gave so much to his community, to his beautiful wife, Lieda, and to those around him. Our prayers and thoughts are with you at this very sad time.

  2. Jan & Barrer says:
    25 Oct 2019
    Dear Leda & Family:
    Our thoughts & prayers are with you. You are in our hearts.

  3. Kim Lovejoy Ross, former Executive Director of the Museum says:
    25 Oct 2019
    Dear Leida et al,
    I worked with Cliffie, as we called him, for eight years or so at the Military Heritage Museum, and there was never a dull moment when he was around! He was one of the Museum's best volunteers, always there for his own shifts, or on-call when we needed a fill-in, and assisting in picking up yard sale items and artifacts all over Charlotte County and beyond! I have to confess that I was responsible for his lack of a passenger seat in his little convertible on one of his trips back from New Jersey (I think). Someone up there had donated a very heavy artifact -- a WWI food service container-- but we had to get it here. Upon hearing my dilemma, he offered to bring it back with him. I didn't realize just how he was doing it until it was done!
    He was a lovely man and a joy to work with. All of us at the Museum thought very highly of him, and he's already been missed.

  4. Michael Knez says:
    25 Oct 2019
    Cliff's lovingly mischievous smile will stay with me forever when I think of him. He would tease and joke always with love and good humor as his intent. His joking manner was on the surface but the love and commitment for country, friends and family were the bedrock of this beloved man. He will be profoundly missed by so many. My sincerest condolences to the love of his life, Lieda.

  5. Vera and John England says:
    25 Oct 2019
    Dearest Lieda and Family, Cliffie will always be "our hero" as well as yours. We were so proud to cheer him as he raced around the track at VIR. When he took us for my father's birthday fishing trip on his vintage ChrisCraft, it was one of my most memorable experiences. Though we never got to fly with him, we admired his models and his expertise. We will miss his jokes, his love for our children, who consider him their "Uncle Cliffie." The Clifford the Big Red Dog books will be forever read in his honor and memory. Our hearts are also broken. Our love and sympathy are with you.

  6. Dave Lyons says:
    23 Oct 2019
    The world has lost a great person. Our golf and card games will never be quite the same. I will miss you

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