I write to you today to share the news of the death of Clifford (Cliff) J. Gillespie, longtime faculty member and Interim Rector of St. Paul’s School. Surrounded by family, Cliff passed away on Sunday, February 21, 2021.
After starting his career in education at Proctor Academy, Cliff joined the St. Paul’s faculty in 1964. During his 33 years of dedicated service to the School, Cliff worked with thousands of students in all of the School’s venues. He was known among those with whom he worked as “the Rock” – someone who was demanding, compassionate, and fair, lending his hands and his voice to decades of teaching and learning at St. Paul’s School and to the growth and development of its students. In addition to the lasting contributions he made in the chemistry classroom and on the lacrosse field, Cliff also served in several administrative roles, including chair of the Science Department, dean of students, and Interim Rector. As you will read in his obituary, it is not surprising that his meaningful impact on others continued well beyond his retirement from the School.
When he retired from SPS in 1997, a prize was established in Cliff’s name that honors the graduating Sixth Former who best displays “the qualities of honesty, integrity, and an eagerness to undertake tasks great and small that make the School a better place.” Upon its opening in 2005, the fitness center in the Athletics and Fitness Center was named in his honor with the commemorative plaque reading: “Gillespie Strength and Fitness Center - Given by friends and former players in honor of Clifford J. Gillespie and his ability to inspire commitment, teamwork, sportsmanship, excellence, and dedication in us all.” I would also like to offer an Alumni Horae article written at the time of his retirement that includes a poignant tribute and a wonderful photo of Cliff and his family.
Our prayers and best wishes are with Cliff’s wife Alina, his daughters Dede ’79 and Susie ’81, and their entire family. Messages of support and condolence can be sent directly to them at email@example.com. In coordination with his family, the School will host a memorial service that will be held at a later date, and we plan to honor him further in an upcoming edition of the Horae.
Cliff will be deeply missed by the SPS family.