Donald Clifford


A graveside Mass of Christian Burial for 86-year old Donald Clifford will be Sat, Feb 19, 2022 at 10:00 at the Holy Rosary Mission Catholic Cemetery in Pine Ridge, SD, with Fr Brad Held, S.J., officiating and Basil Brave Heart “Woksapa” the Speaker.

A memorial meal will follow the Funeral Mass at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pine Ridge.

Rosary services will be Friday, Feb 18, at 7:00 at the Holy Rosary Mission Catholic Cemetery in Pine Ridge, SD

Donald William Clifford was born May 18th, 1935 in Pine Ridge, South Dakota to Robert Clifford and Geraldine (Swallow) Clifford. Surrounded by family, he peacefully passed away in his sleep on January 23rd, 2022.  

Donald Clifford grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, attending Holy Rosary Mission School and graduating with a diploma in 1952. After graduation, Donald continued his education attending Saint Louis University. 

During a break in his studies, Donald was drafted to the United States Army, spent a substantial portion of his service in a missile battalion in Fairbanks, AK, and was honorably discharged in January 1964.  

After his active-duty service, Donald attended Black Hills University, playing his trumpet and singing to help pay his way through college. Donald graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis in Vocal and Instrumental Music and a minor in Social Science.   

After graduation, Donald taught high school history and music in Broadus, MT, where he also served as a choir director for a local church. In 1961, Donald moved to Long Beach, CA, to work in the aerospace industry as a quality control technician, chemical engineer, and manager. He remained there for the next several decades. 

As Donald pursued his career, he also had 4 children with his wife Joyce Arbuckle of Belle Fourche, SD. 

After his retirement, Donald returned to the Reservation and helped the Saint Francis Home, managing the facilities and serving on the Board of Directors. 

Donald was a smart, positive, and fun-loving person who had a profound impact on those who knew him. His life was infused with music and wonderful stories. 

Donald was a loving father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. He had a great sense of humor and spent many of his years surrounded by close friends and family. 

Donald was a bright shining light in any room, and though he has left, his light and memory will continue to shine on all those who knew him.

Donald is survived by his sister, Sr. Geraldine Clifford of Alliance, NE; sons, Donald William Clifford, Jr. of Long Beach, CA, and David (Samantha) Clifford of San Marcos, CA; daughters, D’Lene (Thomas) Booth of Long Beach, CA and d’Arcy  Clifford of Bloomington, MN; grandchildren, Garland (Daniel) Feldman, Gabriel Arrowood, David (Jennifer) Anderson,  Ruth (Mark) Tapio, Grace and Frank Bostick, Abigail and Judith Booth, and Camilla Clifford; and great-grandchildren, Dawn, Rylan, and soon-to-be baby Sarella.

Donald was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Clifford and Geraldine (Swallow) Clifford; and siblings Robert, Gerald, Rosie, Lenny, and Elli Clifford. 

Pallbearers will be David Anderson, Maka Black Elk, Victor Reed, Aaron J. “A.J.” Palmier, Xunkmanitu Tanka Garcia and Frankie D. Bostick.

Honorary pallbearers will be All Friends & Family. 

Arrangements entrusted with Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge, SD