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Jack Clift speaks to Madison History Association

MADISON – In its first public event, Madison History Association featured one of Madison’s most influential families, Jack and the late Lillian Clift, at its Oct. 26 meeting.

The group officially formed in July. Madison History Association is “a group dedicated to preserving Madison’s history, lore and charm through bringing together those who have a special connection and affinity for our wonderful city,” Public Relations Coordinator Jimmy Parcus.

The group’s motto is “It’s time the story was told.”

A large crowd attended the meeting at Clift’s Cove clubhouse. Jack Clift, now 99 years old, related stories from the 1940s to current day.

Director Gil White gave an overview of the Clifts’ milestones in community service that made a lasting impact for Madison’s betterment. Jack Clift answered questions from the audience and generously shared stories about his life.

Several individuals commented on the positive influences, such as fundraising for a YMCA and assisting Boy Scout troops, by Jack and Lillian Clift. However, Jack Clift modestly insisted many other residents helped in these efforts.

Born in 1918, Jack Clift is a third-generation resident of Madison County. After receiving an industrial engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology or Georgia Tech, he served in the Pacific theater during World War II. He returned to Madison with his wife Lillian to become one of the most successful farmers in North Alabama.

The Clifts’ larger land tracts are along U.S 72 approximately between Wall Triana and Balch Road, along with the acreage developed into Clift’s Cove neighborhood.

“Maybe no other couple has contributed more to the development and growth of Madison than Jack and Lillian Clift,” Parcus said. “Their hard work, civic contribution, leadership, benevolence and citizenship helped move Madison from a small town of 1,000 to the 50,000 population of today.”

Jack Clift served as a city councilman from 1964-1969. “During Madison’s explosive growth in the 1980s, Jack and Lillian brought insight and vision to overall city planning. They were instrumental in shaping the beautiful city we know today,” Parcus said.

Along with Parcus and White, officers of Madison History Association are Chairman Jeff Blankenship, Co-Chairperson Vickie Wallace Morris and Secretary Cyndi Bedsole.

Madison History Association is open to members “whether you live in or near Madison now, grew up here but moved away or just recently arrived, if you sense there is something special about this place called ‘Madison, Alabama,'” Parcus said. “You’ll find likeminded, friendly people. They enjoy socializing together, working to protect and improve that special magic in the air and sharing the news about Madison with others.”

Madison History Association meets monthly on the fourth Thursday, except in November, at 6 p.m. at Madison Public Library on Plaza Boulevard. Their next meeting will be held Jan. 25. Meetings are open to the public.

For information, call 256-520-3330, email madison.history.association@gmail.com or visit Facebook/Madison History Association.

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