Goodbye Cliff Popkey – 1955 – 2021: A Writing Life Well Lived

A giant has passed over to the other side. My good friend, Cliff Popkey. passed at 10:22am on the 5th May, 2021. I first met Cliff when I was starting my career as a book publicist and we worked together for many years, developing his brand and working with DSP to publish his Western novels. Under several names, Cliff stormed the Western bestseller chart and helped define the genre as we know it today. The ideas flowed from Cliff like a Mount Vesuvius of creativity, and we will all be poorer for his loss. He was 66 when he passed and had achieved so much in his life, from salesman to township supervisor to bestselling author. Most importantly, Cliff was my friend, and we shared many years of working together to make things happen, and happen they did.

When I first met him, he had written several books but had never had any success with them. Together we changed his name to Cliff Roberts and turned his “Reprisal” series into a super powerhouse of sales with the series gracing the top 100 of the Amazon bestseller list for many months, years even. Then we decided to work on Westerns, and a string of Western successes followed under a series of names. He had many close calls with death in his life, and I truly believed he would beat this last dance with death, but he did not. He has passed to a better place, leaving behind a loving family and adoring wife.

Cliff was a lion of a man with a drive and ambition unmatched by anyone else I’ve ever met. He was someone who believed in winning—someone who truly believed in the American way of life. Achievement was his only mode. He would attack problems and issues full-frontally and usually made them quake in his wake. As a salesman, he truly did exude belief in possibility, and as a writer, he could truly connect with the everyday reader who made him successful. Cliff will be missed but his stories will live on.

For me, he was a tremendous teacher, and someone who could always be counted on for advice and discussion. Spending hours of my life with the man was my privilege, and I was extremely happy to be counted as one of his best friends.

Yes, Cliff is now in the heavens, but his work will continue. Drive and ambition can never be killed, and those were two of the major lessons from the life of Clifford R. Popkey. Drive forward, stop at nothing, never give up, and whatever it is standing in your way—smash it.