Obituary of Thomas E. Clifford Jr.

CLIFFORD, Thomas E., Jr. beloved brother, uncle, teacher, coach, mentor and friend passed away peacefully on August 25, 2022 in Framingham, MA. Born August 21, 1946 in Norwood, MA, Tom was the first of five children born to the late Thomas E. Clifford, Sr. and Doris L. (Burrell) Clifford.

Tom attended St. Catherine of Siena School in Norwood and graduated from Norwood High School in 1964. He received his bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1968 and was a member of the Delta Phi Omega fraternity. Throughout his life, Tom was active in the local Catholic churches of which he was a member. He attended church regularly and was uplifted by his faith.

After graduating from Brown, he volunteered at VISTA at Riker’s Island Prison in New York. He remained in New York and taught at St. Rita School and St. Jerome School in the Bronx, from 1969 to 1975. He then taught English and became head of the English department at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx until 1980. Tom coached the Cardinal Hayes varsity hockey team to 6 straight league championships.

In 1980 Tom moved to Montclair, NJ where he taught English at Montclair High School (MHS). Throughout Tom’s 30 years at MHS, he has had a positive impact on the lives of countless students and families.

Tom has served as academic advisor for the MHS Fed Challenge and Euro Challenge economic programs. Both of these programs have won national and regional championships.

Tom was involved in ice hockey from an early age. He participated in Tom Clifford Sr’s Norwood Hockey Club program, which was first held on local ponds and then at the old and famous Tabor Rink in Needham, MA. He played high school hockey and helped Norwood’s Bay State League championship in 1964. He also played hockey at Brown University.

At MHS, he was the assistant coach for men’s varsity hockey. The MHS team won NJ state titles in 1981, 1987, 1988 and 1995, as well as several conference trophies.

Tom’s influence on so many people in myriad ways is almost impossible to convey. Through his exceptional teaching, coaching academic and sports teams, leading students in college essay writing, SAT prep classes, and tutoring, he touched everyone. Tom attended his students’ events whether it was sports, dance or the arts.

Tom had an incredible ability to bring out the best in every individual and family he was involved with. Through his gentle, positive, humorous and respectful manner, he made people believe in themselves and that they could achieve goals they had never even achieved, not only in MHS but in college and in the life after education. It is his legacy.

Tom passed away from the devastating fall caused by Frontotemporal Dementia. For many years he maintained his polite and courteous demeanor. If you are wondering if a loved one has this dementia, you can find out more here:

Tom is predeceased by his beloved brothers Robert “Bob” A. Clifford and John “Jack” V. Clifford. Tom is survived by his sister Anne Clifford Whitaker of Chelmsford, MA and his brother Reverend Paul T. Clifford of Braintree, MA. Tom is also survived by his nieces and nephews Robert Clifford and his wife Allyson, Katherine Clifford, Suzanne Whitaker Fleming and her husband Dustin, and Robert Whitaker. Tom is also survived by his sister-in-law Marie Lawrie.

Visitation will be held at Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home, 1248 Washington St, Norwood Mass on Wednesday, August 31 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, September 1 at St. Timothy’s Church, 650 Nichols St, Norwood MA at 11:00 a.m. Interment will follow at Highland Cemetery in Norwood.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Tom’s name to the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence (MFEE), Montclair High School, 100 Chestnut Street, Montclair, NJ 07044 or Or donate to the Norwood Scholarship Foundation, PO Box 112, Norwood, MA or Thanks.

Posted on August 27, 2022

Posted in The Patriot Ledger

service information


Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home 1248 Washington St Norwood

August 31, 2022 at 14:00 – 16:00


Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home 1248 Washington St Norwood

August 31, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

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