CHELSEA — Clifford N. Holmquist Jr. of Chelsea, passed away unexpectedly at his home, Thursday evening, Oct. 28.
He was born in Rumford on Aug. 23, 1953. He was a 1972 graduate of Mexico High School. He was a farmer first and foremost and an 18-wheeler truck driver for more than 30 years. He had been a resident of Augusta, Kingfield and currently Chelsea.
In his earlier years, Cliff was the top draft horse herdsman for Sunrise Acres Farm and Merrill Transport in Cumberland for many years responsible for care, training and driving their 6 Hitch of Draft Horses at many shows, competitions and parades throughout the United States and Canada. Cliff was an exceptionally talented horseman. In the springtime, before show season, he would plow ground using draft horses with three abreast.
In the late ’70s he met his future wife, Debby-Jo, at the Fryeburg Fair where she was showing sheep and they fell in love instantly and were married nine months later. They had just celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary. They started their very own small farm with show sheep and draft horses in Augusta. They continued to build a top reputation for their professional livestock skills and partnered with Warren Cook of Sugarloaf U.S.A. ski resort to produce what became known as one of the most decorated and internationally known flocks of show sheep known as Sugarloaf Dorsets for 10 years which consisted of more than 350 head of sheep.
They then purchased their own farm again in Chelsea, where they continued with sheep, draft horses and show beef cattle until Cliff’s health started to decline. Cliff’s favorite times the past few years were helping his closest friend, Will Ballard, work in the hay fields making hay. He was happiest when he was riding a farm tractor out on a flat stretch of land mowing and raking hay in the summer sun.
He is survived by his adoring wife and best friend, Deborah-Jo Holmquist; his beloved daughter, Hannah, and son-in-law, Juston Spittler, of Paris, Ill., where he was so proud to see them get married this past June; his mother, Georgette Holmquist of Mexico; five sisters, Candace Holmquist of Rumford, Valarie Marston of Mexico, Melody Holmquist of Mexico, Jacqueline Pettegrow, and Andrea Holmquist of Mexico; three brothers, George Holmquist of Margate, Fla., Craig Holmquist of Peru, and Paul of Dixfield; Bryan “Bub” Dutton, his adopted son; as well as his three dogs, Cozzie, Fonzie, and Oppie – known as the “3 fd’s”.
Preceding him in death was his father, Clifford Holmquist Sr.
The family of Cliff would like to give special thanks to Dr. Cheleuitte of Augusta for being the most compassionate and caring doctor to Cliff, Dr. Samson of Oakland and Dr. Brodsky of Augusta, and all their special friends who meant so much to them in reaching out with their love and support.