Clifford Martin Luft

MARQUETTE — Clifford Martin Luft, 79, of Marquette, died peacefully Tuesday evening, Dec. 26, 2017, after a brief illness at UP Health System-Marquette, surrounded by his family.

Cliff was born on May 8, 1938, in Carney, Mich., one of 13 children born to Henry and Della (LeMay) Luft. He was a 1957 graduate of Powers/Spalding High School and then attended Northern Michigan University, receiving both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and education administration.

Cliff spent 29 years working for public schools across Upper Michigan in capacities ranging from elementary and secondary educator to superintendent, mostly at his home high school, North Central Area Schools, before starting the next chapter of his career with the Marquette Diocese. In 1990, Cliff and his wife, Sally, moved to Marquette where he became superintendent of the Diocese of Marquette Catholic Schools, retiring in 2002.

Cliff served on the board of directors for Marquette County Habitat for Humanity for 27 years. In 2010, he received an Alumni Achievement Award from NMU.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, the former Sally G. Simmons, who he married at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Spalding, Mich., on Aug. 19, 1961; five children, Kathrine (Steven) Swanson of Kansas City, MO, Richard (Donna) Luft of Crystal Falls, Mich., David (Virginia) Luft of Northport, N.Y., Jane (Ronald) Fonger, Flushing, Mich., Linda (John) VanDeWeghe, of Alma, Mich.; 13 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter; one sister, Laurine Luft, SSND, of Elm Grove, Wis.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and 11 siblings, Mayadore Luft, Dorothy Eisenheim, Margaret Luft, Melvin Luft, Sylvia Maule, Gordon Luft, Sally Jasper, Lawrence Luft, Elmer Luft, Howard Luft, and Mildred Bink.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, Dec. 30, at St. Michael Catholic Church at 1 p.m. with the Revs. Greg Heikkala and Brandon Oman concelebrating. The Luft family will greet relatives and friends at the church beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday until the time of the Mass at 1 p.m. A luncheon will be served in the Zyrd Parish Center following the Mass. Spring burial will take place in the Spalding Township Cemetery.

Those wishing to make an expression of sympathy are kindly asked to consider the NMU Foundation for a scholarship to be established in the Luft family name, 1401 Presque Isle Ave., Marquette, MI 49855, Marquette County Habitat for Humanity, 1027 N. Third St., Marquette, MI 49855 or the Care Clinic, 1213 N. Third St., Marquette, MI 49855

The Canale-Tonella Funeral Home is assisting the Luft family where memories may be shared at canalefuneral.com.