Clifford Harry “Duke” Briscoe, Jr. was born on September 15, 1923 in Hastings, Nebraska. He passed away peacefully at the age of 94 in hospice from injuries sustained in a car accident in San Mateo, California.
Duke was 17 when he joined the United States Navy in 1941. He served aboard the U.S.S. Gunason as a Radioman First Class in the Atlantic, Pacific and European African theaters. In 1946, he returned stateside to pursue his radio career in Alaska. But an overhead announcement at the Mahlon Sweet Field in Eugene, Oregon changed the course of his life. West Coast Airlines was looking for station help. He cancelled his flight to Alaska and his devotion to the airline industry was born.
He eventually moved south to the Bay Area with his new bride, Bonnie, on July 4th 1959. They settled in Burlingame and he continued his airline career at SFO as West Coast expanded its operations. In 1970, Hughes Aircraft purchased the airline and his responsibilities continued to grow. He finally retired from the airlines in October, 1981. Duke joined the San Francisco International Airport administration in December of that same year as Special Assistant to the Airport Director, Operations. In 1983, he was appointed Deputy Director, Operations at SFO. He knew everyone from the skycaps to the police officers, whom he greeted with a smile, a handshake and sometimes an off-color joke. He served in that capacity for 21 years upon his retirement in 2004.
He was an avid golfer, devoted father, husband, grandfather and friend.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Ruth Olive and Clifford Harry Briscoe; his siblings Thomas Briscoe, Richard Briscoe, Jon Briscoe, Robert Briscoe and Jean Briscoe Buswell; and his wife, Bonnie Scott Briscoe. He leaves behind his daughter, Sara Briscoe Moseley, his son-in-law, Paul Moseley and his beloved grandchildren, Ella Bonne Moseley and Benjamin Scott Moseley. His nephew, Robert Briscoe and his family; his nieces Kathy Briscoe and Patti Briscoe and their respective families; and his nieces Lisa Buswell Dahl and Annette Buswell Whittington and their families. He also leaves behind many friends and neighbors as well as his companion of the last few years, Alice Bigelow.
The family wishes to extend its heartfelt thanks to the staff at Mission Hospice House in San Mateo. Gabby, Marvic, Paula, Norma, Alyce, Laura, Raj, Lucia, Rosalinda, Reverend Don and Dr. Pasternak and everyone else – you are angels and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the love and care you gave Duke during his final days and weeks.
At his request, there will be no service. Donations may be made in his name to Mission Hospice House 1670 S. Amphlett Blvd #300, San Mateo, CA 94402.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 12, 2017