In Memory

Alfred Clifford

Alfred Clifford

We are saddened to hear of the death of Al Clifford.  Information sent by Jeff Birkett.

Alfred Gesner Clifford V, a well-known Real Estate Developer and owner of the Compass Rose Inn and Clark Currier Inn, died on February 13th at Anna Jaques Hospital surrounded by his family. He was 76. Al was born in Boston on January 29th, 1947 and was the son of Alfred and Marjorie (Gesner) Clifford. He was the husband of Carol Leigh (Hauptman) Clifford for 45 years. Al graduated from Needham High School and later received his B.A. from Ithaca College, NY. He received an M.B.A. from the Suffolk University School of Business and a J.D. degree from Suffolk University School of Law. He was a member of Delta Kappa fraternity. He worked for Honeywell Information Systems and later FIBCO Corp of Boston. In 1980 Al branched out and began his career as a respected builder of new homes in the greater Newburyport area. As a real estate developer, he designed and constructed close to fifty houses. In 2005, Al designed and built the Compass Rose Inn and later, went on to purchase the Clark Currier Inn both in Newburyport. The Inns thrived under his supervision throughout the years and he loved greeting and meeting the guests and sharing with them stories of Newburyport history and surrounding towns. Al is a past president of the Historical Society of Old Newbury and served on the Zoning Board of Rowley. Al enjoyed many sports. He was an avid golfer, tennis player and skier. He loved the game of golf and looked forward to getting out on the course with his friends several times a week. He was a member of several tennis teams in Newburyport and loved skiing the mountains of New Hampshire in the winter. When given the opportunity, he would share many of his sporting adventures with his eldest grandchildren, passionately. Al was a people person and cherished his life long friendships with his Needham buddies, college fraternity brothers, golf/tennis teams as well as the many people he met through business and the Newburyport area. Al considered everyone family. Alfred is survived by his wife, Carol Leigh of Rowley, MA, his son Alfred (Skip) Clifford and Jamie Walton, of Byfield and his son Christopher C. Clifford and his wife, Caitlin Clifford, of Newburyport. He is also survived by his five grandchildren, Sadie Jane, Alfred (Asher), Kylie, Everleigh and Collin. He is also survived by his nephew, John Henry Reardon and nieces Tiffany Reardon and Lindsay Reardon. The Clifford family sincerely thanks the staff of Anna Jaques Hospital ICU Doctors and Nurses for their care and overwhelming compassion. There will be a private burial in Needham. A Celebration of Life will be held on March 3, 2023 from 3 to 6 pm at the Seaglass Restaurant, Ocean Front N in Salisbury, MA. Light refreshments will be served. In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made to the Museum of Old Newbury, 96 High Street, Newburyport, MA 01950 Funeral arrangements made by Elliott, Woodworth & Rogers Funeral Home, Newburyport, MA (


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02/21/23 10:39 PM #8    

Peter DeFazio

Thanks Les for explaining "Chopper". Now that i am free of the Congressional schedule for the first time in 36 years but experiencing retirement shock. I t would be great to meet up with some classmates in Mass in the warm months. Peter 


02/28/23 09:55 AM #9    

Jeffrey Birkett

While cleaning up my parent’s home, I came across old birthday invitations that they had saved, and came across one inviting me to Al's (as some have noted it was Chopper at that time) 4th birthday party.  Who would have ever thought that 72 years later, we would still be dear friends. To try to remember a lifetime of fun is impossible, but I am so glad that he and Carol came to the cape in November, and Al and I had one last chance to play golf together before the winter.  Always such fun, and such friendship. I never anticipated that it would be our final time to get together.

His obituary gave a short summary of some of the accomplishments that he had during his life, but it is very difficult to capture his character in those few words.  His accomplishments were impressive, but his character was far greater. 

Al was a person of great intelligence, immense integrity, and wonderful friendship and camaraderie to me, and to many, many others during his long life.  I feel truly blessed to have been his friend.

03/02/23 01:59 AM #10    

Peter DeFazio

Jeff:  nice comments on Al "Chopper"😂. I regret having lost touch living on the other side of the country and been so immersed  in my job for 36 years. Are you on the Cape❓. I will be up there a couple of times this year and would like to connect. Peter

03/04/23 07:47 PM #11    

Douglas Moses

I’ve been reading these comments for Al, with sadness that he’s passed, but fondness for hearing the voices of friends and acquaintances from 1965 NHS.  I kept in touch with Al for a while after high school, but last saw him the summer of 1975 when I was home to Needham for a few weeks before returning to California.  At that time, if memory serves, Al was living/renting/sharing an old house on South Street, and was already into real estate.  

I surely remember the “Chopper” name, but equally as much another label – “Uncle Al”.  There was a “Group” of us who hung together a lot, certainly the last couple of years at NHS, but also, for some, both before that, and well after  – Jeff Birkett, Dave Buckley, Roli Butler, Al Clifford, Shel Cooper, Dick Coughlin, Steve Fabbrucci, Bill Owens, me.  I remember group trips to the Cape, often the site of excessive alcohol experimentation.  Al was always the “adult” in the group.  A little bit older, miles more mature.  He was the “designated driver” in the group, before that term was coined.  Uncle Al.  

In John Semple’s comment, he notes Al’s car – yes, the Woodie (p42 of the yearbook).  But I most remember Al in his tiny Fiat; and Jeff in the tiny Ford Taunus, and me in the tiny Rambler American – all racing around like bugs trying to beat Shel in big! Riviera.  Good times.   

As I look at the short list of friends above, it’s hard not to take stock – three gone (Al 2023; Dick 2008; Bill 1998); six still standing.  Probably a pretty fair record for a bunch of us now in the second half of our 70s.  Best wishes to all of you and my other long-ago friends from NHS.        

03/07/23 06:54 PM #12    

Sheldon Cooper

Doug and Jeff’s memories of Al inspired me to share some of mine. Al had a fondness for cars. At one time or another, many of us got a ride in the little Fiat station wagon that he nicknamed Luigi. For me, one of those rides was through the woods abutting the Babson campus. Understand that we were not on roads, but were driving through the woods. It got pretty exciting. I don’t have the talent to accurately describe what it felt like. If you want to get a feel for that ride, I will suggest that you head over to, type W R C into the search bar and select any of the videos that are presented. W R C stands for World Rally Championship. Any of those videos will give you a feel for what that ride was like. All those cars in the videos have roll cages, crumble zones, and seat belts. Items that did not exist in Fiats from the sixties. So as exciting as the videos may appear, riding with Al was just a bit more exciting. 


In the seventies. Al had upgraded to a Volvo sedan. In those days, foreign vehicle manufacturers would perform failure analysis on the different components that went into vehicles. From that analysis, the manufacturers would determine stocking levels and storage locations for spare parts. Al managed to break a part that some engineer deemed so unlikely to fail, that it was not stocked in the US. In those days, there was no FEDEX; no international shipping, etc. The dealer had to wait months to receive that particular part. As Al related the incident that caused the part to break, he started laughing. He said, I can picture some guy named “Sven” in Sweden trying to figure out what caused an unbreakable part to fail.


Our friend Al will be missed.

03/12/23 01:52 PM #13    

Peter DeFazio

When I wrote earlier I thought Al "chopper" and I delivered fuller brush catalogs in needham actually it was on the Cape - family cottage in the background. 




03/12/23 02:06 PM #14    

Peter DeFazio

Al with fuller brush and my dad Mike DeFazio teacher coach. 

03/12/23 09:30 PM #15    

Sherry Mernick

From the Yin perspective ... Al was a mischievous, creative, original Mr Nice Guy!

03/13/23 02:05 PM #16    

Steve Marini

Paul Lawrence and I saw Al about four years ago. Wife and I stayed at one of his BnBs. We went out to dinner and had a great time. His death was a real shock and very similar to what happened to my older brother, Don, in 1990. Strange now how 76 seems too young. We'll miss you Al.


03/26/23 07:14 PM #17    

Peter DeFazio

I finally got the photos transferred and uploaded that I previously mentioned😳. Peter

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