IN LOVING MEMORY
February 27, 1930 – November 22, 2022
Cliff lived a long and full life of 92 years and peacefully walked through heaven’s gates on November 22, 2022, in Edmonton AB. He was a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and a kind friend to many. Cliff was predeceased by his beloved first wife, Beth, and his siblings, Harold (Ruth), Dave (Mae), Rolly and Gwen (Jim). He is survived by his loving second wife Gerry, his sister-in-law Lorna, his children Jeff, Anna (Clive), Patricia (Kelly), Philip (Michelle) and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, relatives, and friends.
On February 27, 1930, Cliff was born on the family farm in the Water Glenn district southeast of Wetaskiwin, Alberta, the fourth son of Hjalmer and Agnes Nelson. The early years of his life centered around his family, relatives, farm life, church, and community. At the young age of 12, Cliff felt God’s call to be a medical missionary in Africa and he pursued that goal with great tenacity. He worked hard to complete school by the time he turned 15. He wanted to attend university that fall but couldn’t because all the veterans were coming home from the war, so the application office said he had to wait a year. So, he went north of Peace River and lived in a granary while he taught grades 1-8 in a log cabin school. The 16 students worked on correspondence courses with his instruction and guidance. He was just 16 and had become a schoolteacher! His parents only had enough money to send one of their children to University, Dave. Later his parents decided to also let Cliff go to the University of Alberta to become a doctor. Years later his sister Gwen also attended University. Cliff often talked about the career sacrifices made by his brothers, Harold and Dave, and he always indebted to them.
During University he was involved in Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship and attended Beulah Missionary Church, where he met his first wife Beth Eileen Minogue. Beth went off to Chicago to attend ‘Moody Bible School’ and he lost track of her for 5 years! But then while riding a bus in Edmonton, he saw her walking down the street, asked her out and the rest is history as they say! Cliff and Beth were married in 1956 and in 1957 their dream came true, and they went to Africa to begin the next 14 years of their life working as medical missionaries in Uganda & Tanzania. In subsequent years Cliff and Beth had four children, Jeff, Anna, Patricia, and Philip. In 1971 Cliff and Beth returned from the mission field and set up life in Edmonton, Alberta. Cliff worked as a doctor at the Allen Clinic and then developed his own private practice. Family life was full, as Cliff enjoyed watching his family grow, with weddings and the birth of grandchildren. Cliff experienced the grief of losing Beth when she passed away in 1989.
Cliff initially met his 2nd wife, Geraldine Opal Clemenger, when he roomed at her mother’s place while attending University. As he was Gerry’s mother’s doctor, he was in touch with Gerry and their long-time friendship blossomed into love. They were married in Spring of 2000 at the age of 70! They were friends for over 50 years before they got married and celebrated 22 years of marriage in March 2022.
Cliff was a loving and supportive father to his kids. He encouraged them in their pursuits and challenged them to think critically. He deeply loved his children, their spouses, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Cliff was an extraordinary man, with a loving and generous heart, a cheerful nature, and an unwavering faith in God. He dedicated all his abilities to serving others and reducing human suffering. Cliff practiced medicine on several different continents and even though he attempted to retire a couple of times, he loved being a doctor so much that he continued his work as a medical doctor until he was 80! He had a wide variety of hobbies which included carpentry, breadmaking, canoe making, skiing, counted cross stitch, crossword puzzles, gardening, hobby farming, antique cars, working on cars, and teaching Sunday School. He was an avid reader and had a strong desire to keep his mind active through reading a wide variety of material.
There are numerous relatives, cousins, nieces and nephews, friends, and neighbors, sharing in the immediate family’s grief, and the family is appreciative of their care and condolences.
Cliff dedicated all his abilities to serving others and reducing human suffering. In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting two ministries close to Cliff’s heart. Donations may be made to either;
The Voice of the Martyrs Inc.
P.O. Box 608, Streetsville / Mississauga, ON / L5M 2C1
905-670-9721 or 1-888-298-6423
Humanitarian Aid Response Team with the work in the Ukraine
106, 90 Freeport Blvd, NE / Calgary, AB / T3J 5J9
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Serenity Funeral Service – South
780 450 0101