Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 a.m. Friday, April 12, St. Mary's Catholic Church, Rock Island. Interment will be at National Cemetery, Arsenal Island. Visitation will be 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, Rock Island.
Life on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression meant no running water, no heat, no electricity and no money. All children were part of the work force and chores included milking cows and tending to the chickens...all before school. The rural way of life meant walking to school for miles, heating a bed warmer in a cast iron stove to keep warm in the bone-chilling winters and looking in your stocking on Christmas Day with excitement to find an orange. These were tough realities for a young boy born Aug. 5, 1922, in Wilton Junction, Iowa. This boy was Paul Clifford Doran, known by everyone as "Cliff."
Cliff's first paying job as a teenager was working for Candy Kitchen in Wilton Junction, harvesting and delivering the ice, which was taken from a nearby creek with a horse and buggy. The ice was provided for ice cream and phosphates for this oldest running ice cream shop in the country.
A second world war called Cliff to serve his country. He and his Army comrades battled on Omaha Beach in Normandy, specifically in the third wave on June 5, 1944. On a dare, Tech Sergeant Cliff Doran asked Betty Grable to dance at a U.S.O. show; she would be Cliff's second best dance partner.
Now a salesman and living in Muscatine, Cliff met Joanne Harper from Fairfield, Iowa. Their first date was supposed to be a local dance. Instead, sparks flew literally and figuratively while witnessing a barn burn down. They eventually made it to the dance and continued their favorite pastime of dancing to big band and country music. They wed on Dec. 10, 1950. Cliff and Joanne eventually settled in Rock Island and had eight children -- four boys and four girls.
Cliff's long career involved sales that ranged from selling feed to area farmers for Sweet Lassey to working for the Illinois State Lottery. He retired from the lottery in 1991. Cliff worked hard all day and would take a second job for extra money to feed 10 mouths. He worked as a bartender at the Harmony Lounge and O'Melia's Supper Club. He would later tell his family how at the Harmony he met Faron Young, Johnny Cash and knew Willie Nelson when his hair was short and wore a suit and tie.
As a native Iowan, it was natural for Cliff to be an Iowa Hawkeye fan. Watching football and basketball on Saturdays was a favorite pastime of his and Joanne's. He also liked watching his kid's various sporting events. He loved the St. Louis Cardinals. According to Cliff, if you were smart, you didn't root for the Chicago Cubs or the Fighting Illini. A few of his family members are smart.
Music and dancing were a big part of Cliff's life. He loved listening to Joanne play the piano and sing. He sang a few bars as well of "Room Full of Roses" and his tongue-tied rendition of "Cecelia." If his children weren't home for their birthday, he always sang "Happy Birthday" with Joanne over the phone to make them feel special. Cliff was the life of any party with humorous jokes with his favorite libation, a Jim Beam Manhattan. You couldn't keep him off the dance floor. If you were his daughter, you knew how to dance. When he took his daughters and Joanne out to dinner, he'd tell the waiter he had to take us all with him -- after all, we were "too ugly to kiss goodbye." Laughter and eye rolls followed. We all got a kick from his never off color, clean and endearing jokes.
Cliff was a member of St. Mary's Church in Rock Island. He was a member of the VFW, American Legion, Elks, Moose Club and the Democratic Party. He enjoyed playing euchre, eating cashews, hated chicken and green beans (reminded him of the Depression) and loved Joanne's beef and noodles and homemade pies. He loved being with his family and friends. He loved crossword puzzles, watching the Guy Lombardo and Lawrence Welk shows. His favorite personalities were Bob Newhart, Red Skelton, Eddie Howard, his friend, Jack Barlow, and Ray Price.
Cliff was preceded in death by his wife, Joanne; also by his mother, Amelia; father, George; brothers, Edwin (Bud) and Francis (Swifty); sisters, Mary, Helen and Lorraine.
He leaves to cherish his memory his eight children, Craig (Susan) Doran, Cindy (Jeff) Jones, Clint (Linda) Doran, Carson Doran, Carla Doran, Jay (Megan) Doran, Jill (Chris) Randall, and Jennifer (Greg) Doran Ciokajlo; his grandchildren, Amie (Glen) Templeton, Matt Doran, Chad Oaks, Amber Doran, Amanda (Steve) Newby, Nick Doran, Brandon Klugger, Reece Randall, Tate Randall, Claire Doran, Macy Doran and Everett Ciokajlo; his great-grandchildren, Chase, Carter, Calvin, Kiele, Aleigha, Alexander and MacKenzie. Also cherishing his memory are his younger sister, Phylis Moomey; cousins; nieces; and nephews across the country.
A special thank you to the nurses and caregivers at Riverview Manor in Pleasant Valley and Genesis East. They provided personalized, gentle care to make his final chapter on this physical earth comfortable, peaceful and dignified.
Although meager beginnings, Cliff's start on the farm and path through life brought him family and good friends, the lessons of hard work and looking through the lens of life with humor. He was a rich man.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wounded Warrior Project. Their website is woundedwarriorproject.org or call 1-855-448-3997.
Online condolences may be left for the family at wheelanpressly.com.
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