Clifford Albert Rayl, a 42-year resident of Yucca Valley, died at his home on Jan. 29, 2020. He was 95.
The son of Clifford Cecil Rayl and Wealthea Beatrice Rayl, he was born Jan. 3, 1925, in Willoughby, Lake County, Ohio.
Cliff was born a twin and raised on Lake Erie for his entire childhood. His twin passed away at just 21 months, leaving him, the youngest of four, to spend a lot of time chasing after his older siblings and spending time with his friends and dog Rover on the lake and in the surrounding nature.
One of his fondest memories from his childhood was that of his mother, Wealthea, baking and handing out loafs of bread to the homeless from their front door.
A true people person, nature lover and jokester, Cliff enjoyed everything from stargazing and rock hunting with his kids and grandkids, to sharing a good joke and a tickle, to chatting up the locals in every establishment he’d visit.
He loved art, even broadening his skills through college art courses after he retired. He was well loved by so many and a self-proclaimed conversation starter and people watcher.
Cliff’s first love, Rover, sparked his lifelong love of animals and he passed with his kitty Peaches by his side.
Cliff served in the U.S. Navy for three years. He was a World War II veteran serving on the USS San Diego from 1942 to 1945. He was awarded 13 battle stars for his ship’s major engagements in the Pacific.
He went on to work for the Tulare Advanced Register Newspaper for five years, was a service station attendant in San Diego for six years and was a U.S. Postal Service clerk in Holtville and Palm Springs for 21 years before his retirement.
Cliff was a proud member of Yucca Valley’s Calvary Baptist Church choir and VFW Post No. 7264 of Joshua Tree and was chaplain for the American Legion Post No. 761 of Twentynine Palms. He was a two-year member of the Holtville Lions Club and a four-year member of the Yucca Valley Elks Club.
Cliff was a lover of geology, astronomy, history, art and animals, and of making people smile and laugh. He loved to share stories of his battles and life as a gunners mate aboard the USS San Diego. He loved attending church and singing in the choir.
He was preceded in death by his father, Clifford Rayl, his mother, Wealthea Rayl, his son, Kevin Rayl, his twin brother, Donald Rayl, his other brothers, Bob Rayl and John Rayl, and his sister, Peg Kelley.
He is survived by his wife, Florence Leona Rayl, whom he married on July 17, 1960.
He is also survived by his daughter, Kari Kay Woolsey, of Yucca Valley, nine grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and his kitty, Peaches.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. March 3 at the Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, CA 92518. To the man we came to know and love, you will be dearly missed. May you rest in peace and love.