NLJ Staff

Aug. 18, 1942–Aug. 19, 2022

Clifford Ray Willson, 80, passed away Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, at Ft. Meade VA Medical Center.

Cliff was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 18, 1942, to Grant and Margaret (German) Willson.

He married Linda Thompson before being drafted in 1967 to serve in the U.S. Army. He proudly served for two years during the Vietnam War. Upon his return from Vietnam, Linda and Cliff welcomed son, Lance in 1969.

Cliff worked as a surveyor for the state of Iowa for many years before he relocated to Newcastle, Wyo. There he worked as a mechanic for the Ford garage for 18 years before going to work for the Wyoming highway department as a mechanic. He remained at the Wyoming highway department for 18 years before retiring due to health reasons.

In 1994, Cliff married Cheryl Varrick in Newcastle. They resided in Newcastle until September 2021 when they moved to Box Elder, S.D.

Cliff had a passion for golfing and fishing. He spent many hours doing both. In his younger years he enjoyed hunting and snowmobiling. He had many stories to share about all of them.

He is survived by his wife, Cheryl; son, Lance of Mesa, Ariz.; step-children, Tom (Sara) Lappe of Alexandria, La., and Buffy (Jim) Logsdon of Box Elder; nine grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; brothers, Ed (Terry) Willson and Tracy Willson; sister, Deb (Larry) Curtis; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Cliff was preceded in death by his parents; a brother; first wife, Linda; and his faithful dog, Tilly.

Graveside services will be held Friday, Aug. 26, at 9:30 a.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, S.D. The service will be live-streamed at for those unable to attend.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Cliff’s name to Fort Meade VA Community Living Centers.

Friends may sign his online guestbook at


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