Cliff Heselton was raised in Massachusetts along with his two brothers and two sisters. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1952, and was hired by Lockheed Corporation in Burbank, California. Cliff worked at Lockheed until his retirement in 1985, beginning with aircraft structural design and materials testing, then moving to the test laboratory for missiles and spacecraft at the Sunnyvale campus. After many years, he moved into program planning and management.
Cliff met his wife, June, in California and they married in 1975. On a trip to Oregon to visit an old friend who was working at Oregon State University, they decided to purchase a piece of property outside Philomath, next door to the friend and his wife. After Cliff retired, he and June moved to Corvallis while their house was being built and moved into their rural home that fall. June died in 1991.
Cliff lives a quiet life, enjoying the outdoors and spending considerable time caring for his five acres. Over the years, he has experimented with planting numerous species of trees to see which grows best in the local environment. He belongs to the Corvallis Men’s Garden Club, the Nature Conservancy, and the Greenbelt Land Trust. He is also an avid reader.
Cliff established his first fund with Benton Community Foundation in 2007. The Cliff Heselton Fund benefits the Jackson Street Youth Shelter, Philomath Youth Activities Club, Benton County 4-H, Vina Moses Center, and Philomath Scout Lodge. Cliff explained that he had regularly contributed to these local charitable organizations, but that by establishing an endowment he could ensure that his financial support continues in perpetuity. “I haven’t figured out how to take it with me, so I might as well figure out who to leave it with,” he said, smiling. In 2011, Cliff established a second endowed fund with BCF called the Heselton Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis Endowment. This fund benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis.