We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Brown Colonial Mortuary
Kathleen Clare Clift, better known as Kathy, passed on the morning of May 29th, 2022 at the end of a 13-year battle with Alzheimer’s surrounded by her husband, children, and grandchildren. In her last week, she rallied to the occasion as she always had by joining her family on the patio of her home and enjoying a glass of red wine and excellent company.
Kathy was born on April 9, 1942 at St. Joseph’s hospital in Orange, California as the youngest of five children to Ada Markel and Emil Wetzel. As a fourth generation Californian, she was always proud to say that her grandmother was the first female Postmistress in Placentia in 1897. On December 26, 1959, she married Don Clift and proceeded to mother four beautiful children.
Kathy came from a family of farmers and entrepreneurs. She grew up going to Catholic school and playing with her many “Markel” cousins in Floral Park, Santa Ana.
Kathy attended Mater Dei High School. She spent her weekends riding her horse Popcorn in Modjeska Canyon, where at the age of 13 she met her husband Don who tended the horses. From that point on, Don and Kathy (whom he called “Kate”) were inseparable. At the ages of 17 and 19, they were married and proceeded to have their four children, Diana, John, Jan, and Tom. They raised their family in Orange, keeping active and involved with their 4 kids, 10 grandkids, and 13 great-grand kids, spending their free time with friends, on vacation, boating, water skiing, and riding horses.
Kathy and Don continued the family tradition of farming and entrepreneurship. The Clifts, now citrus farmers with groves all over California, built a business from the ground up—starting actually in Kathy’s closet. Today, their agricultural transportation company Villa Park Trucking continues to grow with its third generation of Clifts now on board. Kathy and Don also continued their love of horses by riding together along the trails of Orange Park Acres and breeding race horses.
Kathy is survived by her husband Don Clift, daughters Diana Hathcock and Jan Toth, sons Tom Clift and John Clift, grandchildren Ethan Jennings-Clift, Ryan Clift, Carter Clift, Markel Sanford, Cole Hathcock, Julia Toth, Madalyn Toth, Brianna Lamb, Nichola Ninke, and Kristin Whitaker, and 13 great-grandchildren.
A Catholic mass service will be held at Holy Family Cathedral on June 16 at noon. Kathy’s final resting place will be in the moratorium at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, where her mother and father have also been put to rest.