FIT FOR DUTY – Thirty-seven recruits graduating from the Alaska Department of Public Safety Training Academy's Law Enforcement Training Session 1802 take the oath of office this afternoon at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. The audience was told that during the rigorous 16-week session recruits lost a combined 200 pounds of body fat. The graduates will be taking law enforcement positions around the state from the North Slope Borough Police Department to statewide Alaska Wildlife Troopers to the Ketchikan Police Department. Speaker at the ceremony was DPS Deputy Commissioner William Comer, who graduated from the academy in 1985. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Patrick Gordon Clifton

Patrick Gordon Clifton


Patrick Gordon Clifton, 38, passed away at home in Sitka on Jan. 28, 2018.

Services will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Sitka Elks Lodge.  A celebration of life will follow at the Halibut Point Recreation Area South Shelter.

 Patrick was born Jan. 22, 1980, in Yakima, Wash., to Jay and Victoria (Tebb) Clifton. The first grandchild on both sides – oh, he was specially loved!

Patrick grew from daddy’s little helper into a very capable man.  As he grew into the physical ability he would quickly master the skills and technique required for the next task – seemed like he could do anything that he set his mind to do.

Patrick liked animals, and had a special fondness for a certain few dogs and horses in his life. He enjoyed opportunities of hunting adventures with his dad and friends.

He spent his first years on the (cousin) McInnis’ farm, then time with his mother and soon siblings Ellyse and Alex. He also spent time with his dad on the Stelzer farm in Dufur, Ore.  

Patrick got into commercial fishing at the age of 8, helping his dad with summer trolling out of Security Bay and Gedney Harbor in Alaska. Summers fishing with dad turned into summers and winters fishing with dad after his mother passed away when he was 14. Patrick and his Dad continued trolling and found themselves in Sitka in the fall of 1994.  At the age of 15 Patrick was a commercial harvest diver!

Tommy Williamson offered a much better opportunity for Patrick than fishing with dad: marine construction.  With WS Construction in Sitka, Patrick learned about big equipment, and liked operating, rigging, welding, diving and building.

His last three school years were spent with Grandma Carolyn and Grandpa Willie in Yakima, forming a tight bond with them. Still, summers meant work for Patrick: fishing or construction.

He graduated in 1999 from West Valley High, his dad’s old school. He spent a school year at Big Bend Community College where he learned to fly and met and married Becky (Jacobson).  After three years in Moses Lake, Wash., he came back home to Sitka in 2003 with his precious family, Becky and beautiful daughters, Bailey and Tayler.

With Tommy Williamson’s guidance and help Patrick built and put his family into a new house, operated his own charter boat and even established his own marine construction business – “Clifton Enterprises.”  In 2008, Patrick and Becky welcomed their third beautiful daughter, Bristol, into the world.  

After some years of marine construction on his own, Patrick sold his equipment, tug, crane and barge, and bought the F/V Lovey JoAnn to fish with dad again, seining!

In June 2017 he married Trina Lea Vila, who seined with him on his new boat the F/V Confidence. Trina was lovingly there for him tending to his needs through his final hours. 

Patrick was touched and positively influenced by many people of fine character; he had a wealth of very fine people as friends. Many made loving, caring visits during his last months.

Patrick will be remembered as one who loved his girls, Bailey, Tayler and Bristol; loved adventure; was confident and fearless of a new challenge. He was smart, with rugged strength and endurance but after nine years of contending with his cancer he finally had to let go.

 He was preceded in death by his mother, Victoria (Tebb) Phillips, his maternal grandfather, Gordon Tebb, and his paternal grandfather Jerry Clifton.  

Patrick is survived by his wife, Trina Lea Vila, daughters Bailey, Tayler and Bristol Clifton; father Jay (Sherry) Clifton with brother and sister Tommy and Grace Clifton all of Sitka;  grandmother Carolyn (Willie) Van de Graaf; aunt Jan (Gary) Logston; uncle Jimmy (Lorri) Clifton; and cousins Kyle and Kelsey Clifton all of Yakima.  


Stepfather Kevin Phillips and brother Alex Phillips both of Yakima, sister Ellyse (Michael) Capobianco of Hermosa Beach, Calif., grandmother Deidre (Mike) Northcutt of Alta Sierra, Calif., uncle Tom (Vickey) Tebb of Prosser, Wash., aunt Wendy (Randy) Kenyon of Mountain View, Calif., aunt Mehri Herlitz of Grass Valley, Calif., and uncle Stephen (Kathleen) Tebb of Napa, Calif., and many cousins also survive.   

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