Clifford Nelson Rushlow

1928 ~ 2020 (age 91)


Clifford Nelson Rushlow died peacefully at home of natural causes, unrelated to the coronavirus, surrounded by his loving children on May 23, 2020. Born in Providence, RI, the son of Nelson and Winifred Rushlow, Cliff was the husband of Joan (Jeanne) Fournier Rushlow (d. 1/28/2020), whom he most cherished. 

Cliff is survived by his devoted family, Denise R. Oliveira, Elaine R. Finan and her husband Jeffrey, John N. Rushlow and his wife Deanna Behan Rushlow, and his grandchildren: Morgan, Grace, and Graham Oliveira, Brooke Finan, Cara (Finan) and Ben Smith, Nicholas, John Chase, Hope Rushlow, and great niece Lee-Ann Rushlow, whom he considered a granddaughter.

He is also survived by several other loving relatives: his brother David N. Rushlow, nieces/goddaughters Christine A. Rushlow, Catherine R. Dunnavant, Luca Rushlow, Anica Rushlow, his nephew, John Tierney (Jane Jepsky Tierney), his great-nephew Ryan Dunnavant, his great-niece, Nicole Dunnavant, his brother-in-law, Jean (John) Fournier and Delores Fournier, and nephews Fred Joyal and Ron (Dawn Rocheleau) Joyal, as well as his dear friends, Karen and Jim Skelton. 

Cliff served in the US Navy for 20 years and, while at the Naval Security Agency in Maryland, received 3 commendations for inventions of design involving circuitry additions to computer analog equipment that enhanced operational efficiency. As a communication specialist and cryptographer in Naval Intelligence, Cliff traveled extensively to many duty stations in Guam, Hawaii, Minnesota, Maryland, Maine, Turkey, and Morocco, always accompanied by his family. 

Upon his retirement from the Navy, Cliff entered the funeral business with Prata Funeral Homes, which ultimately led him to another transfer: Westerly, RI. He retired as Director of the Rushlow-Iacoi Funeral Home after more than 30 years in that capacity and developed multitudes of caring relationships with the families he met during their times of sorrow. During his career in Westerly, Cliff belonged to the Amancio-Falcone Gaccione Post VFW, American Legion, Westerly Yacht Club, Westerly Lodge of Elks, and the Lions Club. He also served as a Chairman of the Westerly Housing Authority, and as a member of the American Red Cross (Civil Disaster Committee). Cliff loved his Westerly community.

Cliff was also a man of numerous avid golfer, Cliff golfed around the world in semi-professional tournaments, but truly enjoyed being a life-long member of the Winnapaug Golf Course where he formed special bonds with many of his fellow golfers. Cliff was also an accomplished philatelist, as he not only studied stamps, he collected them and developed a prolific collection. In addition to stamps, he collected rare coins of historical significance and beauty. When stationed in Hawaii and Guam, he began a seashell collection, some of which required him to dive deeply into the oceans to retrieve. Of all his many interests, he delighted in the game of bridge and he, himself, was a consummate teacher of this complex card game.

At the age of ten, Cliff read the encyclopedia, and continued his passion for reading throughout his life, consuming thousands of books. A man who valued words, a true logophile, Cliff routinely completed the NYT crossword puzzles, and when he spoke, he did so with eloquence. For every special and not so special occasion, Cliff wrote a poem to welcome, or simply convey love, to family and friends, and present or passed. He even published a few poems, one entitled “Hope”,  which highlighted his sense of optimism. Prior to a stroke five years ago, Cliff also authored and produced a novel entitled  Jack Deck, which he shared humbly with family and friends. 

Cliff, the best hugger ever, was a sentimental, kind, funny, warm, modest, gracious, and accepting man who kept family, God, and truth firmly centered in his life. Cliff was a gentle giant whose loving nature will be missed.

His family would like to thank the Hope Health Hospice care nurses, especially Meghan Nelson and its numerous Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) for their undaunting support through Cliff’s final week. In addition, the family extends its gratitude to Westerly’s Nursing Placement Agency’s CNAs and the support from the Veteran’s Administration, especially Audrey Lavarato, Leeza Kearns, and Sarah O’Sullivan, who gave Cliff the gifts of dignity and love over these last few years. In lieu of flowers, the family invites donations to be made as a memorial gift in Cliff’s name to Hope Health at

Due to the coronavirus, funeral services are private. 

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