Obituary of Ronald Clifford
Ronald Clifford, beloved father and husband, brother, uncle and dear friend, passed away suddenly on Friday, December 15, 2023, with his wife Brigid by his side at the age of 69. Ron was at once an American hero and a proud Irishman, who embodied the best qualities of both countries.
A known charmer with a brilliant wit and a bit of the Blarney, Ron’s Irish roots seem inseparable from his undeniable charisma. Ron (also known as “Ronnie”) was born and raised in Cork, Ireland, where he later attended Christian Brothers College. In the Irish tradition, he was always quick to delight his family and his ever-growing collection of friends with clever wordplay and charming anecdotes. Though he later immigrated to the United States, he maintained a passion for Irish culture and history throughout his life.
In Boston, he would meet the love of his life, Brigid Wry, who later led him to New York City. There, Ron combined his interest in and savvy with technology with his interpersonal skills to embark on a successful career as a software account manager. Ron and Brigid ultimately moved to New Jersey: raising their daughter, Monica, in Glen Ridge and residing in Summit, for the past nine years.
A man of intense curiosity and far-reaching interests, Ron relished any opportunity to learn about a new subject or develop a new practical skill. An avid sailor and car enthusiast, Ron spent his free time restoring his 26-foot Contessa sailboat, he dubbed the “Sports Car of the Deep Seas.” He had hoped to complete a transatlantic crossing, starting in New London, Connecticut, and sailing to Cork, Ireland.
Ron was deeply committed to helping other people, often lending a hand to fix a leak in a neighbor’s kitchen or pausing a trip to pull over and help a stranger change a flat tire.
Many came to know Ron’s selfless nature through the courage he demonstrated on 9/11. He was in the lobby of the North Tower when the first plane hit and, without hesitation, risked his life to help rescue a badly burned woman and lead her to the safety of an ambulance.
The tragedy of that day was unrelenting: upon returning home from Ground Zero, Ron learned that his beloved sister Ruth Clifford McCourt, then just 44, and her daughter, Juliana, 4, were passengers on the hijacked United Airlines Flight 175, which was flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. To honor their memory, Ron served as a government witness and gave testimony in the criminal trials of the terrorists responsible for the attacks. He campaigned tirelessly to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Ron is survived by his beloved wife, Brigid Clifford (née Wry), their daughter Monica and her fiancé Mason, his two brothers John and Mark, half-brother Spencer, his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Ron is predeceased by his brother Gordon, sister Ruth, and his parents Valentine and Paula. Ron’s role as a devoted husband, father, and friend and his selflessness, compassion, resilience, warm Irish charm, and fun will be fondly remembered. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2:30 pm Saturday January 20th, 2024, at St. James Roman Catholic Church, 184 S. Finley Ave., Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
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