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Community loses Clifford Caryle McQueen

By Staff | Dec 19, 2013


Clifford Caryle McQueen was born on April 2, 1925 in Long Beach, CA. He grew up in Hollywood and learned early in life the importance of hard work. At age six, Cliff was earning money selling seashells. Then he sold magazines door-to-door, and by age 11 delivered newspapers before school. By age 16, Cliff was employed as a doorman at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre. Although Cliff’s childhood was difficult and challenging at times, he looked back on those years with fondness. A particularly precious memory was joining the Boy Scouts, Troop 8.

In 1942, 17-year-old Cliff enlisted in the Navy, serving three years. He attended Woodbury College to study interior design and later California School of Art to study architecture. Cliff opened his first home furnishing store in Tarzana in 1957. Cliff married and they had two children: daughter Christina and son Michael.

Cliff was drawn to Maui, relocating to Lahaina in the early 1970s and giving up his business and eventually his marriage. He worked a variety of humbling jobs, including beach rentals and as a busboy at the Sheraton Maui.

Cliff married Makoto Vertes on the Big Island in 1974.

Using his design background, Cliff opened up a carpet and later furniture store, McQueen Interior. A particular shade of lime green became known as “McQueen green,” because Cliff’s store awning and interior reveled in this color.

Cliff had a real estate license from the 1970s and eventually became a successful realtor. He also was a generous member of the community, donating to important causes (in particular the Maui Preparatory School through the Alliance to Improve Maui).

Cliff enjoyed playing tennis and working on their farm, which had over 70 organic fruit trees. He also lived the importance of taking care of one’s body and enjoyed wonderful health and energy throughout his life.

Mr. McQueen passed away on Nov. 28, 2013.

Cliff is survived by his wife, Mako; daughter Christina Powers (husband Robert); and his son, Michael McQueen (wife Cheri).

A celebration of Cliff’s life will he held at Hanakao’o Beach (Canoe Beach) in Lahaina on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 10:30 a.m. Donations may be made to Hospice Maui.