Clifford L. Bekkedahl, Naval Officer, Arctic Explorer and Editor of The Polar Times, Dies at 86

Captain Clifford “Cliff” Lewis Bekkedahl, 86, of East Hampton, New York, passed away, March 26, 2017, surrounded by his loving family at his home in New York City.

A celebration of life service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, April 1, at Yardley and Pino Funeral Home, 94 Pantigo Road in East Hampton, New York. A funeral will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, later this year to honor his life and career of Naval service to the United States of America.

Cliff was born on December 11, 1930, in Cleveland, Ohio to Donovan and Mildred Bekkedahl. He graduated from Collinwood High School in 1949 and from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1953. He earned a Masters Degree in International Relations from the American University school of International Service, Washington D.C. in 1965. Cliff is also a graduate of the National War College.

On June 21, 1957 he married Victoria Becce in Brooklyn, New York.

Cliff was a decorated career naval officer, retired in the rank of Captain in 1979 after 26 years of service. In his Naval career, he had prestigious and adventurous assignments, including three ship commands, a command of a destroyer squadron, posts at the Pentagon, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, Yokosuka, Japan, and as an officer on the U.S.S. Arneb on Operation Deepfreeze; a mission with the distinction of crossing both the Arctic and Antarctic Circles in the course of one year.

After retiring from active duty, he joined ABB Lummus as an executive, and later in his retired years, he became the Editor in Chief of the American Polar Society’s magazine, The Polar Times. While he was a passionate seaman, officer and inspiration to many in the Navy, his proudest accomplishment in life was the family he raised with his loving wife Vicki, and the grandchildren who gave him great joy right up to his last moments in life.

Cliff was an active volunteer with the Kiwanis Club of East Hampton, Habitat for Humanity, a member of the Trails Society of East Hampton, and enjoyed biking, woodworking, gardening, inventing new recipes, reading fiction and writing about his life’s travels and learnings.

Cliff is survived by his wife Vicki of 60 years, his four daughters, Barbara Bekkedahl of New York City, Carolyn Bekkedahl of New York City, Alison Bekkedahl Gallart of Maplewood, NJ and MaryAnn Bekkedahl-Parent of Pelham, NY; his brother Doug Bekkedahl of San Diego, CA; and his eight loving grandchildren Russell, Julia, Margo, Becky, Sean, Maritxell, Charlie and Celia.

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