Clifton E. French
French, Clifton E. Born 4/10/18, died peacefully 1/07/06 at home in Sedona, AZ with his wife Joanne and family at his side. Preceded in death by his parents, Clara & Guy French; brother, Richard; sister, Mary and son, David. Survived by his wife, Joanne (Cory) of 62 years; sons, Peter and Timothy (Shari), and daughter, Priscilla; daughter-in-law, Lynn French; brother, John; sisters, Elizabeth Strege and Frances (Richard) Loomis; grandchildren, Priscilla and Donny Weber, Tom (Margaret) and Andy French, Christina Schwartz, Debbie French, Chanin French; along with numerous great- grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Clif grew up in south Minneapolis, was graduated from Washburn High School and attended Principia College. In 1944 he married Joanne Cory. Clif served in the US Army Field Artillery in the Pacific during WW II. Upon discharge as a Captain in 1946, he went on to earn a Bachelor's and Master's degree in the field of recreation leadership from the University of Minnesota in 1948 & 1949. In 1953 he completed course work on his PhD in history and philosophy of education. He began his career as program director at Coffman Memorial Union at the U of M, followed by being the first Director of Recreation and Parks for Edina. In 1962 he was appointed the first Superintendent of the newly created Hennepin County Park Reserve District (Three Rivers Park District) where he remained until his retirement in 1984. The system began with 400 acres and grew to over 24,000 acres upon his retirement. In 1984 Medicine Lake Regional Park was renamed the Clifton E. French Regional Park in his honor. In Sept. 2005 he was presented with the Pugsley Medal, an award given by the National Recreation & Parks Association for "extraordinary leadership." Clif was a member of Mpls Rotary Club, YMCA Metro Y's Men, Minnesota Recreation & Parks Assoc., U of M Alumni Assoc., American Youth Hostel Association, Founder of Kool-Aid College, Tweewheeler's, Co-founder of July 4th Banana Splits for Breakfast and numerous other national and local organizations. He was loved deeply and will be missed greatly by family and friends. A celebration of his life will be held on May 7, 2006 at the Clifton E. French Regional Park, Plymouth, MN. Memorials to the Clifton E. French Endowment Fund, c/o Three Rivers Park District, 3000 Xenium Lane N., Plymouth, MN 55441.
Published on January 10, 2006
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