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May. 21, 2009
Remember My Dad, Clifford Erickson

My dad, Clifford, was a kind, gentle, patient, and loving person. As a father he inspired me to follow my passions in life, and as an adventure companion he challenged me to seek out and live up to life’s challenges. Though my dad enjoyed grassroots fame as the Clif in CLIF BAR, this notoriety was just a small part of his long and full life.

Clifford Ralph Erickson, was born in Baileys Harbor, WI on August 29, 1929. A former merchant marine, my dad traveled the world visiting places like Panama, Japan, China and the Philippines and eventually, San Francisco. On visits to San Francisco, my father attended services at local church and it was there, during one of those services, that he met my mother, Mary, the church’s organist. Clifford and Mary married in 1949 and moved into their first home, a small, third floor apartment just off Market Street in downtown San Francisco.

By 1953 my dad had a new job and new son; Randy my older brother. As a boiler and machinery engineer for Kemper Insurance, my parents relocated to Fresno, CA where my brother, David, and I were eventually born. With proximity to Death Valley and Yosemite and 3 rambunctious boys, my dad was never short on adventure trip ideas. It was during these years, that the world opened up to me and my brothers as we camped, climbed, hiked skied and explored California’s wilderness.

In 1962 our family moved back to the Bay Area as my father pursued another new job opportunity. And, while my parents moved several times before settling down in Oakland in 1978, the Bay Area was where they put down their roots and built a loving community of family and friends. As active members of Cathedral of the Crossroads, my dad generously gave his time and attention to many to church activities and through the years served in several administrative positions including Sunday school superintendent where he developed innovative educational programs for the parish. During this time, my dad also discovered his love of public speaking and joined Toastmasters International where he eventually served as the club’s president.

In 1992, thanks to the use of my parent’s kitchen, my mom’s help mixing and baking hundreds of bars, and my dad’s diligent taste testing (and kitchen clean-up), the first CLIF BAR energy bar finally came out of the oven. In honor of my dad and his ceaseless encouragement to follow my passions, I decided there was no better name for my creation than CLIF BAR.

My dad passed away on May 5, 2009—he was 83 years young. Married for 60 years, my dad was a devoted husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather. Clifford will be forever in our hearts, and his spirit and legacy will live on through his family and through Clif Bar & Company.

-Gary, Founder and Co-Owner of Clif Bar & Company
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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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