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Edwin N. Clift

ELLSWORTH – Edwin N. Clift, 73, passed away Nov. 18, 2012, at his home on Branch Lake. He was born Nov. 1, 1939, in Fredericksburg, Va., to his parents Sherman and Goldie Clift, who predeceased him.
Ed is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 30 years, Mary J. Clift. He is the father of two daughters, Denise Smith and her husband, Fred, of Kenduskeag and Shelby Young and her husband, Chuck, of Dedham; and grandchildren, Brooke Dennis and Sara Young. He is also survived by his four brothers, Raymond Clift and his wife, Sandra, Roger Clift, Larry Clift and Michael Clift, all of Fredericksburg, Va.; along with many nieces, nephews and their families. Clift will also be fondly remembered by an extensive circle of colleagues and friends.
In 1959 Mr. Clift began serving in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at several Air Force bases including several in Texas, Hawaii and Delaware. Prior to being honorably discharged in 1962, he received several awards including, the Good Conduct Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and Base Airman of the Month while stationed at Eniwetok, Mich. After his military service, he further pursued his education at Strayer College, Washington, D.C., the University of Maine, Orono, and Williams College School of Banking, Williamstown, Mass. Mr. Clift began his 44-year career in the banking industry in 1964 with Merrill Trust Co., in which he held various positions, including senior vice president and senior administrative officer. In 1988 he joined Key Bank as a senior vice president and later was an executive vice president with Machias Savings Bank. In 1992 he became the founding president and CEO of Merrill Merchants Bank, later Merrill Bank and People’s United. He firmly believed and was often quoted as saying, “Banking is about people.” He played a major role in recruiting investors and senior management for Merrill Merchants Bank when it became the largest ever de nova bank start-up in Maine history. He oversaw great growth from $74 million in assets in 1992 to $408 million in assets in 2005. Mr. Clift retired from Merrill Bank in January 2009. Colleagues fondly remember him for his hard work and dedication; he would often share the light-hearted phrase, “Let’s get back to the salt mines.” During his retirement he and his wife, Mary, completed construction of their dream home on Branch Lake. He enjoyed the outdoors, fishing and had a great love for animals; he especially enjoyed traveling to his second home in Fredericksburg, Va., where he was able to visit with family. His legacy in the greater Bangor community is marked not only by his contributions to the banking industry, but his extensive community involvement. He was the director and past president of Bangor Area Target Development Corp.; president of Penobscot Foundation for Development Services; served on the board of advisors for the University of Maine Center on Aging; co-chair of the Capital Campaign for the Bangor Museum and History Center; provided 22 years of leadership with St. Joseph Healthcare – most of this time as chair of the St. Joseph Healthcare Board of Trustees; state chair of the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve; served as an Army Reserve Ambassador; past president of Bangor Morning Rotary; chairman of the board of directors for Seven Islands Land Co.; a member of the Maine Judicial Compensation Commission; past chair and director of Maine Bankers Association; past Maine state chair of the Community Bankers’ Council with the American Bankers Association; past director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; past president of the Independent Bankers Association of Maine and served on the advisory board of the Bureau of Financial Institutions. He also provided leadership to the Multiple Handicap Center of Penobscot Valley, Forest Society of Maine and Maine Tree Foundation. Mr. Clift received many awards and honors spanning his career. He was recognized as Volunteer Banker of the Year from the Maine Bankers Association in 1996; he received a Spirit of Volunteerism Award by Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve for his “thousands of hours of support, leadership and commitment to service” in 2004; he was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow by Bangor Rotary; in 2005 he received the Veterans Small Business Champion Award from the Small Business Association; in 2006 he received the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce Norbert X. Dowd Highest Achievement Award; and he was recognized in 2008 with a 2 Those Who Care Award for Community Service. In October 2012, he was recognized by St. Joseph Healthcare with the dedication and naming of a building in his honor to recognize his many years of community service. He will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather, a consummate southern gentleman, a man of great integrity, a courageous and humble leader, mentor to many, ever faithful in his generosity of time and talent, and for taking care of others – quietly assisting and handling their affairs when needed.
The family invites relatives and friends to a gathering of remembrance to share conversation and refreshments 4-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center St., Bangor. Those who wish to remember Ed in a special way may make gifts in his memory to the St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation, P.O. Box 1638, Bangor, ME 04402-1638. Condolences to the family may be expressed at

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