Cliff Halliwell, 96, of Barrington

Posted 12/1/20

John Clifford Halliwell (Cliff), of Barrington, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, with his wife Diane by his side. He was 96 at time of his passing and lived a full life …

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Cliff Halliwell, 96, of Barrington


John Clifford Halliwell (Cliff), of Barrington, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, with his wife Diane by his side. He was 96 at time of his passing and lived a full life with enough adventure to fill a Hollywood manuscript.

Born in Pawtucket to Jack and Eliza Halliwell, he grew up in very modest surroundings when Pawtucket was primarily a mill town. At the time of his high school graduation, he had been awarded a full scholarship to Brown University, which he decided to forgo and enter the US Army Air Force at the start of World War II. He became the pilot of a B-24 Bomber (“Nightmare”) and flew 42 missions over Europe. On that 42nd mission on June 6, 1944, his plane was chosen to lead the bombing raid over Brasov, Romania, when a German Flack Shell exploded in the cockpit of the plane and seriously wounded Cliff. He was hospitalized and underwent skin grafts to repair his shattered arm. Following his recovery, he then traveled home to be re-united with his family and his high school sweetheart, Lillian Gervais, who he married shortly thereafter.

He was given a follow-on scholarship by Brown University where he graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering. He soon joined the Grinnell Corporation in Providence, where he learned building design for mechanical systems and equipment.

In 1954 he left that firm to open Halliwell Engineering Associates (HEA) which he grew to include plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems design. Following the end of World War II, many returning veterans had started families, and as a result. many new schools in New England were designed by HEA.

His two older sons Jack and Gary later joined the firm and added civil, structural and environmental engineering services. In 1987, Walt Disney World hired HEA to become their lead engineer for environmental engineering, in a trusted relationship that continues today.

Throughout his career at HEA, Cliff enjoyed boating with his family, sailing between Newport and Ft. Lauderdale and also spending summers in Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

He owned many powerboats and sailboats during his lifetime, naming them for his different passions in life: Long-Gone, Half-Gone, HEA-KAI, Happy Pappy, Scherezade, Island Girl and Cloud Nine.

He was the quintessential entertainer, with his ukulele and a portfolio of songs that would always bring people together, making them laugh and feel happy. He created the “Wicky-Wacky Ukulele Club” and made many new friends, teaching them how to play.

He had charm and charisma…sometimes to a fault, that often got him into hot water with his many friends …and wives.

In the end, he was one of kind. He was caring, loving, feeling, funny, smart, a great father, a good husband, a great teacher and a fantastic human being. He was always true to himself and gave little worry to what others may have been thinking. He touched many lives and will be missed by more.

At the age of 90, he methodically researched and wrote the story of his time and personal recollections in the Air Force during World War II, so that those experiences would never be lost or forgotten by future generations. The book was published by Amazon Publishing in 2018 and appropriately entitled “Flying Nightmare.”

He was pre-deceased by his second son, Gary Halliwell and his first wife, Lillian.

He is survived by his wife Diane Marie Halliwell, his three remaining sons, Bruce, Mikel and Jack Halliwell.

To all that knew him and were a part of his incredible life… he would like to say to you…  Thank You all…it was a Grand Life…and Bye for Now.

In Lieu of Flowers…. Please take the time to thank a veteran for their service and our freedom.

Arrangements are in the care of Wilbur-Romano Funeral Home, Warren.

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