Guthrie Melvin Cliff, 70, of Indianapolis passed away peacefully on February 11, 2017 from the effects of a long-term illness.
Born November 9, 1946 in El Centro, California to Melvin & Lillian Cliff, he grew up there and graduated from Central Union High School in 1964. Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1966, he served in Vietnam from 1966-1967 and was honorably discharged in 1968. He lived in Escondido, CA and San Marcos, CA since 1965 until relocating to Indianapolis in 2009.
As a journeyman Operating Engineer for 33 years (IUOE Local 12), he worked on some of the most challenging dirt-moving projects in San Diego County and Orange County. He worked his way up through the ranks by becoming proficient in operating numerous pieces of heavy equipment, then became a highly-skilled grade checker and grading foreman. His last position was that of a field superintendent at the exclusive development of Rancho Cielo Estates in Rancho Santa Fe, CA before moving on to a six-year stint in the field of land surveying.
He loved the sport of drag racing having started racing at the age of 16. He came to realize in later years that to have been part of the southern California drag racing era of the 1960’s was a one-of-a-kind experience. He continued racing into the 90’s, and building high performance engines and driving his dragster brought him the greatest of joy.
Guthrie is survived by his wife of 39 years, Laurel Cliff (Grabowski) of Indianapolis; children David Cliff of Rancho Penasquitos, CA; Cindy Cliff DeGraffenreid of San Diego; Craig Cliff of San Marcos, CA; and Garrett Cliff of Indianapolis; brother Chuck Cliff of Holtville, CA; and grandchildren Clifton, Claire, and Mailei.
Scattering of ashes will be at a later date in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Bishop, California, his most favorite place on Earth. May he catch-and-release those elusive wild brown trout in the Owens River while looking up at that bright blue sky and snow-capped mountains …..forever.