Wellsville, NY - Clifford R. "Duke" Ackley of 12 Herman Ave. passed away on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at the Highland Health Care Center. He was born on August 12, 1923 in Olean to Clifford F. and Anna M. Blaske Ackley. On July 19, 1947 in Olean he married Ruth DeGolier who predeceased him on February 20, 2004.
Duke graduated from Olean High School and in 1942 he entered the US Navy. He served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater until 1946 on the USS Manatee. During the war his ship participated in many engagements including the battle of Leyte Gulf, the battle of Surigao Straight, the battle of Samar and the battle of Cape Engano all while supporting Third Fleet Operations. Duke was later called to serve during the Korean War on the USS Macon.
In 1954 Duke bought Wellsville Roofing and Sheet Metal and he operated that until December of 2012. He was on the Allegany County Planning Board for over 30 years and he built the Allegany County bicentennial time capsule. Duke also used his talents to rebuild the former Citizens Bank clock that now proudly stands next to the municipal building. He served his community as a member of the Village of Wellsville Board during the flood of 1972. He was an Allegany County Republican Committeeman, attended the inauguration of President Richard Nixon, and he received the Ronald Regan service award from the Allegany County Republican Party in 2010.
Duke's memberships include the Elks Lodge #1495 of Wellsville, American Legion Post #702 of Wellsville, 65 year member of Enchanted Mountain Masonic Lodge #252 of Olean and He joined the Wellsville Lions Club in 1956 and has remained active all these years. Duke participated for many decades in the Lions Club Minstrel Show and will be remembered as the man behind the curtain. Duke was a life member of the Lions Club and had served as president in 1974. During his term as president the club was district champions of the District Governor's Contest. He received the Melvin Jones Award and was Lion of the Year. Duke was also a member of the First Trinity Lutheran Church in Wellsville.
Survivors include: His daughter Linda (Barry) Gridley of Wellsville; 3 grandchildren, Bernie Gridley of Chattanooga, TN., Chelsea Gridley of Gaithersburg, MD., and Mathew Gridley of Wellington, FL.; 2 nieces Doris Alger and Nancy (Larry) Trank.
He was predeceased by his daughter Peggy, his wife Ruth and a sister Jane Herrmann.
Friends are invited to call on Friday, March 8, from 2-4 and 7-9 at the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home in Wellsville and on Saturday from 2-3pm in the Trinity Lutheran Church at which time a service will be held. Pastor Robert Morris will preside and burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery. The Lions Club service will be held at 6:45 pm on Friday in the funeral home. Memorials may be made to either the First Trinity Lutheran Church memorial fund or to the Trinity Christian Day Care. To leave online condolences please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.