US Navy

Clifford D. Estes

September 10, 1936 ~ March 27, 2019 (age 82)

Obituary Image


York, Maine-Clifford Donald Estes, wonderful husband, father, grandfather, navy officer, lobsterman, sportsman, community activist, traveler and trusted friend of many, died peacefully at his home on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.


Clifford “Cliff”, son of Henry and Helen Estes, was born on September 10, 1936 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He was raised in Windsor, Massachusetts, a small town of 200.  His family home was adjacent to the Estes General Store and the local Post office where his father ran the general store and his mother was the Postmistress. His childhood interests included 4H, the Grange, and hunting, fishing and skiing in the Berkshires. In 4H, he became a camp counselor, an exhibition judge and was involved in the 4H organization on a local, state and national level. It was at this time that he first developed what became a long-term interest in community service. Across the street from his home, Cliff attended a 2-room schoolhouse where he proudly graduated at the top of his class (of 2). 


Cliff continued his education at Dalton High School, UMASS, Amherst, and the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Upon graduating from the Naval Academy in 1959, Cliff was commissioned in the US Navy and served as a submarine officer in Groton, CT.  He then continued his education at MIT, in Cambridge, MA earning a degree in Naval Engineering and a Master of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Upon graduation, he served as an engineering duty officer at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. His next assignment was Washington DC.  While there, he completed a Master of Science degree in Administration Management Engineering at George Washington University. He was then assigned back to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard where he continued his career in engineering in both Portsmouth and Holy Loch, Scotland, where he headed up the Extended Repair Program (ERP). In 1979, he retired from the Navy and became a consultant for the VITRO Corporation at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. After working for VITRO, Cliff became a part-time lobsterman, starting with a handful of traps and eventually fishing over 300.


Throughout his life, Cliff was always active in his community. In York, he served on the school building committee, the planning board, and the York tax task force. He also initiated a number of ordinances designed to preserve and protect the integrity of the town. Despite his aversion to public speaking, he was a constant presence at local town selectmen’s meetings.


Cliff had many interests and recreational traditions, all which he shared with his family. He was a lifetime skier. Some of his ski trips included the Berkshires, the White Mountains, the Rockies, the Sierras and the Swiss Alps. An annual tradition was to climb and ski Tuckerman’s Ravine at Mount Washington. His interest in hunting and fishing began with his family in Windsor. For over 50 years, Cliff enjoyed hunting and fishing with family and friends at Grand Lake Brook Camp outside of Grand Lake Stream, Maine. A golfer since the Naval Academy, he was member at York Golf & Tennis Club for over 40 years. Although Cliff found the game of golf frustrating at times, he enjoyed spending time at the club with friends and family. Cliff also loved to travel and explore new places. With his family, his travels included the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Scandinavian Coastline, and Europe. Cliff also loved everything about small town life – the parades, local sports, and community events.

Cliff loved working in his yard – weeding, mowing, and trimming – to keep his home pristine.


Above all, Cliff loved his family. He met his wife, Maureen Reynolds, while in college and the couple married June 30, 1962. Cliff and Maureen had 4 children, Maura, Robert (deceased), David (deceased as an infant) and Peter. The family settled in York, Maine in 1973. Cliff and Maureen had a solid marriage and a strong friendship. Cliff described Maureen as his “Everything”. It was important to Cliff to honor old traditions while being open to creating new ones. He taught his children the importance of being supportive and loyal to family, a legacy for his children and grandchildren.


Cliff was a thoughtful man who led through his actions. Always calm, reasonable, fair, and focused - always without judgment. Cliff spent a lot of time on the water and the phrase “steady as she goes” describes him well. The phrase refers to “ instruction from the captain to the helmsman of a ship, to keep the ship heading steadily on the same course regardless of gusts of wind or cross-currents.”  Cliff kept those around him on track and moving towards being their best selves.  


Cliff is survived by his wife, Maureen; his children, Maura Estes and Peter Estes; his daughter-in-law, Gretchen Estes; and his three grandchildren, Will, Ethan and Anna, all who live in York. He also leaves his two brothers and their wives, Richard and Margaret Estes and Kenneth and Lisa Estes and many nieces and nephews.


 Please join family and friends on Saturday, April 27 from 12 to 3pm for a remembrance and celebration of Cliff’s life. This will take place at the Old Clubhouse at the York Golf & Tennis Club located at 62 Organug Road in York, Maine. PLEASE OMIT FLOWERS, Donations should be made to the York Student Scholarship Fund  c/o Lloyd Bakke , 27 Huckins Avenue, York, ME 03909 in Cliff's memory. Lucas & Eaton Funeral Home, York, Maine is assisting with arrangements. Visit




To send flowers to Clifford D. Estes' family, please visit our floral section.


Celebration of Life
April 27, 2019

12:00 PM
Old Clubhouse at the York Golf & Tennis Club
62 Organug Road
York, ME 03909

© 2019 Lucas & Eaton Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS