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Obituary

Clifford J. Fitzsimmons

 

October 24, 2019



Clifford Jay Fitzsimmons, 72, of Knoxville, Tenn., made last call Sept. 23, 2019, after a short battle with cancer.

Raised on a wheat ranch in Pomeroy, Wash., Cliff moved to East Tennessee after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force. He established and later sold the first office supply business in Sevierville/Pigeon Forge. He also changed the nature of cattle shows in Tennessee, bringing his western ways (1964 Garfield County award) to the Sevier County 4-H program in 1972.

He worked in auto sales, engineering drafting and steel frame design before returning to school and earning his associate from Pellissippi State and bachelor degree from the University of Tennessee in his 50s. He devoted much of his later years to service organizations, in particular as an advocate assisting veterans in obtaining their benefits from the VA. He served as the Executive Director of Tennessee AmVets, Director of Amvets National District III and National Judge Advocate for the AmVets due to his tendency to kick much ass despite having only one leg.

Cliff also served many years as a convener and national vice president for the Clan Graham Society of North America, was inducted into the Jimmy Boys and wore his kilt with pride despite a tendency to be misidentified as Sir Sean Connery. He was re-elected several times as president of the Smoky Mountain Highland Games.

He oversaw the festival’s growth and then move from Gatlinburg to Maryville College, but still maintained an active presence on the game’s field even in official presidential retirement. He was also a life member of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, holding offices in both over the years.

Always ready with a story and joke, he never failed to help his friends and had a low tolerance for those who crossed him.

He was preceded in death by his father, Marcus Creighton Fitzsimmons; his twin sister, Colleen Fitzsimmons; and his wife, ElTeresa Fitzsimmons. His right leg preceded him in 1998 but he never let that loss slow him down though he occasionally left his replacement leg in odd places at odd times much to the entertainment of friends and horror of various flight attendants, bartenders, waitresses and at least two members of the Scottish nobility.

He is survived by his beloved mother, Kathleen Fitzsimmons; brothers Tom Fitzsimmons (Jamie Carothers) and David (Carroll) Fitzsimmons, sisters Vicki Brenner (Tim Collier) and Linda (Jim) Vandeweg. He is also survived by his son Marcus (Susan) Fitzsimmons, of Seymour and Thompson’s Station; daughter Sarah Wimbish, of Knoxville; and stepson Lee (Riann) Horner, of White Pine; and grandchildren Titus, Bryan, London, Bailey, Aubree, Paige and Katelyn, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be held at the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery on John Sevier Highway in Knoxville. On October 1 at 11:30 a.m. A celebration of life will be announced later this year.

The family would like to thank Smith’s Funeral and Cremation of Maryville for helping with arrangements for a veteran.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Cliff’s memory to AMVETS Service Foundation, Attn: Scholarship Fund, 1205 Malabar Drive, Kingsport, TN 37660.

 
 

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