Clifford “Coke” E. Aikey, 97, of Bellefonte, passed away on July 21, 2023, at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College. Born on July 22, 1925, in Kane, Pennsylvania, he was the son of the late William Clifford and Laura (Griffith) Aikey. On April 21, 1948, he married the love of his life, Sarah C. (King) Aikey, who preceded him in death on May 25, 2019, after sharing over 71 years of marriage together.
Coke was raised in Curtin, PA, and attended the Curtin United Methodist Church. During World War II in 1944, he was drafted into the United States Navy and served on the USS LST 742 in the Pacific Theatre. He was honorably discharged and returned home in 1946.
Upon returning from the Navy, he attended Williamsport Tech/Trade School (presently Penn College). His strength was that he could listen to an engine and tell you exactly what was wrong with the car! He later worked at, and retired from, Titan Metal/Cerro Copper and Brass of Bellefonte. It was during this time that he rekindled his friendship with Sarah, which would lead to their marriage in 1948.
He is survived by his daughter, Pamela M. Aikey of Bellefonte, as well as his beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
In addition to his wife and parents, he was predeceased by his brothers, Earl Aikey (Ida), and Joseph Ronald Aikey (Liona), and sisters, Lois Fisher (Merrill), and Marian Myers (Robert).
Clifford, or “Coke,” was always fairly well known in the area. Some called him Mr. Aikey, others referred to him simply as their favorite bus driver, some called him Clifford, Uncle Coke, or just Coke. Regardless of what others called him, he was known by many and loved by all!
Coke loved to travel. In addition to the numerous family vacations over the years, he attended the World’s Fair in New York City with his family in 1964. He and Sarah also attended many Navy/Shipmates meetings throughout the years. His shipmates became family to him while in the Navy and he was able to keep in touch with one another after returning home. In 2019, Coke and his daughter, Pam, traveled to Evansville, Indiana, to see the LST-325, which is the last remaining LST of its kind. There have been many WWII veterans visit the LST throughout the decades, but never a WWII veteran that had actually served on an LST…until Coke! He was honored by the LST Memorial Organization and awarded a medallion for his service. The organization then graciously asked Coke if he would lead the tour of the LST.
Additionally, he loved going to the Grange Fair and was an avid fan of Penn State Football and the Pittsburgh Steelers. More than anything, he loved the time spent with his family and his beloved dogs.
Family and friends will be received on Saturday, November 4, 2023, from 9:45 – 10:30 AM at Wetzler Funeral Service, Inc., 206 N. Spring Street, Bellefonte. A Celebration of Life Service and a time for sharing will begin at 10:30 AM, at the funeral home, with Rev. Rodney D. Watkins officiating. The graveside service with full military honors will follow at Meyer Cemetery in Bellefonte.
Memorial contributions may be made in memory of Clifford to the Greater Buffalo Run Valley United Methodist Church at 1667 Buffalo Run Road, Bellefonte, PA 16823.