Clifford R. Sayre Sr., 92


Clifford R. Sayre Sr., 92, of West Bend, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at Cedar Community.

He was born on Aug. 4, 1920, in Boston, to the late Allan and Olga (nee Hansen) Sayre. When Cliff was 6, he moved to Wakefield, N.H. along with his parents and Grandpa Sayre. He graduated from East Wakefield Grade School and went on to attend Rochester High School, a 28-mile train ride and 3-mile walk from home. Due to the poor economy and his fatherís illness, Cliff went to work during his third year of high school. He later completed the high school requirements with his GED and went on to take various college programs to further his educational and technical needs. Cliff was always an active reader and self teacher and was noted for his collection of engineering and technical texts.

On July 12, 1943, Cliff was united in marriage to Irene Elizabeth Mullaney in the Rectory of St. Johnís Catholic Church in Quincy, Mass. Irene preceded Cliff in death on May 29, 1963, at the age of 39.

On Feb. 8, 1969, Cliff was united in marriage to his second wife, Estelle Pelletier-Kowalski at the Great Lakes Chapel in Waukegan, Ill. In 1979 they moved to Mountain Home, Ariz. before making West Bend their home in 1986. Estelle preceded Cliff in death on July 14, 2010.

Cliff worked for a building contractor before taking a job as an electrician for the ship building division of Bethleham Steel Corp. where he moved up to electrical group leader. At the outbreak of World War II, Cliff joined the U.S. Navy and went to sea aboard a new Navy destroyer he had helped build when he was group leader. His ship was engaged in 38 hostile encounters during a 3 1/2year period. Cliff re-enlisted at the end of the war due to the unstable post-war job market and ended up making the Navy a career for 22 years. He served eight years on destroyers, four years in ship repair facilities, another eight years as Electrician School instructor, and his last years as electrical officer aboard a Marine troop transport at the onset of the Vietnam War. By the time of his retirement, Cliff had advanced to master chief electrician.

After his Naval retirement, Cliff worked for Abbott Lab as a training director and for Technical Publishing as an editor.

He was a member of the Fleet Reserve Association, Mason 4th degree at Ossipee Valley Lodge 74 in Center Ossipee, N.H., Medinah Shrine Temple, and VFW Post 3246 Mountain Home, Ariz. Cliff enjoyed extensive travel throughout of U.S.

He is survived by his children, Dawn Gehrke of Rochester, N.Y., Lynn (Jack) Mjelde of Waukegan, Ill., and Clifford (Barbara) Sayre Jr. of West Bend; stepson, Richard Kowalski of Cedaredge, Colo.; seven grandchildren, Kristen (Derek) Hahn, Chad (Kaycee) Gehrke, Jon (Victoria) Gehrke, Jeffrey (Paula) Mjelde, Denise (fiancť, Michael Green) Stollenwerk, Anne (Aaron) Grundahl and Adam (Nicole) Sayre; 11 great-grandchildren, Jake Mjelde, Alex Clark, Cheyenne Nichols, Morgan Stollenwerk, Kali Gehrke, Jacob Hahn, Noah Grundahl, Maya Gehrke, Charlie Sayre, Elizabeth Grundahl, and Carolyn Sayre; and many other relatives and friends.

Cliff was preceded in death by his parents, both his wives, two brothers, Alan and Clarence; and son-inlaw, Ken Gehrke.

Funeral services in remembrance of Cliff will be held on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 5:30 p.m. at the Myrhum ~ Patten Funeral Home, 1315 W. Washington St., West Bend. Visitation will be at the funeral home on Thursday, from 4 p.m. until the time of the service. Burial will be in Highland Memorial Park in Libertyville, Ill. on Friday, Jan. 11 at 11 a.m.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.myrhum-patten.com.