Clinton Schoff, a beloved traffic officer for the South Berwick Police Department, who directed traffic at its town square for 15 years, died on Tuesday after a yearlong fight with cancer. He was 77.

Mr. Schoff was a founder and dedicated volunteer for the South Berwick Emergency Rescue Squad, who gave tirelessly to the community he loved.

Mr. Schoff was remembered by loved ones last week as a stand-up guy, who had a tremendous impact on others. The police department’s Facebook post about his passing has reached more than 50,000 people and generated 212 comments as of 9 a.m. Saturday.

Every day an estimated 17,000 cars pass through the busy junctions of Routes 236 and 4 in South Berwick – and all without a traffic light. Mr. Schoff was at the center of it all.

He directed rush hour traffic from 6 to 9 a.m. guiding motorists through town square and waving to kids heading to school. Early in his career, he also worked the 3 to 5 p.m. shift.

Lt. Chris Burbank, of the South Berwick Police Department, said Friday it’s a very stressful job and he did it with a smile.

“He was really the heart and soul of the community,” Burbank said. “He wanted to be in a place where he could interact with people. If 200 kids were crossing the street, 200 kids were giving him high fives. When he saw a school bus drive by, every face was in the window smiling and waving at him.”

Mr. Schoff was always quick to volunteer at special events like the town’s annual Strawberry Festival, parades and road races.

A lifelong resident of South Berwick, he was also a founder and dedicated volunteer for the town’s emergency rescue squad for more than 20 years. He served several years as chief.

His daughter, Lori McPherson, shared many heart-felt stories Thursday of how her father gave back to the community he loved. She said he raised money for the rescue squad to ensure residents had the best care. He was also known for offering jobs to people down on their luck and for helping people to get assistance, McPherson said.

“There was never a moment my dad wasn’t doing for other people,” she said. “He went on some pretty bad calls. He used to share some with us. In every story, there was a lesson. … My friends respected him so much. Many feel that his life lessons to us, were theirs.”

He was a loving husband of Jacqueline Schoff for 55 years. The couple lived in South Berwick, where they raised three children.

His wife said he was a devoted family man who worked hard to provide a good life for their family.

“He always wanted to make sure I was all right,” she said. “He always protected me. He was really a wonderful husband. We always loved each other.”

In his early years, Mr. Schoff served in both the Marine Corps Reserve and Coast Guard. In 1962, his unit was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

He continued his service at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in its sail loft. He went on to serve as an apprentice instructor. He also represented co-workers as a two-term union president for the American Federation of Government Employees. He worked at the shipyard for 37 years and retired around 1998.

“His favorite thing was being part of the union,” his daughter said. “My father saved many jobs. He was always for giving people another chance. He had a tremendous way of communicating … not reacting, keeping a level head.”

About a year ago, Mr. Schoff was diagnosed with bile duct cancer. McPherson said he remained positive through all he faced with cancer. She reflected on his approach to life and the lessons he passed on to loved ones.

“He was a remarkable human being,” his daughter said. “He always had the mindset that everyone was all right. If I was dealing with something, he would say, you’re all right. To me, and I can speak for my brothers, no matter what we faced, my dad, the rock of our family, believed in us. I have confidence that no matter what comes my way, I’m all right. He instilled that in us.”

A funeral mass with full military honors will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Thursday at Our Lady of the Angels Church, 162 Agamenticus Road in South Berwick.

A reception to celebrate his life will follow at The Red Barn at Outlook Farm, 310 Portland St.

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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