Cliff A. Potts, 78, went home to his Lord and Savior on October 24, 2019 at 1:00 in the morning at St. Vincent’s Hospital with his Wife Brenda and Brother Rick by his side. Cliff was born April 28, 1941 to Edith Collins Potts and was raised on the ranch in Custer Montana by Edith and his step-father Glen Potts. Cliff was a hard worker and spent many long days tending to cattle and crops with Glen and his other siblings. When Cliff wasn’t doing chores he was typically found playing guitar or piano. Music was a lifelong love of Cliff’s and many fond memories were made with family and friends playing and listening to music. He could sing Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” in perfect pitch. Cliff was a friend to many and always kept his door open to them to stop by for a conversation, a prayer or even some unsolicited advice. He was a man of faith and humility and he loved to help people. Cliff’s desire to help others most likely stemmed from a need to show others the generosity and help that he so often relied upon to literally stay alive. Cliff contracted Polio at 15 years of age on June 8, 1956 and his life was completely turned upside down. Within a few hours everything was viewed from flat on his back, relying on an iron lung to breathe for him. Polio may have taken Cliff’s ability to move from the neck down but it certainly didn’t take his desire to live. Cliff spent the next several years of his life learning how to do things all over again, things that we all take for granted. He learned how to breathe without the iron lung, allowing him to gain back his mobility through the use of a wheelchair. He taught himself how to use a paintbrush in his mouth to create art. Eventually he had a “Golden Arm” built for him. This geared machine allowed Cliff to use his hand to paint and draw instead of his mouth. He certainly racked up some mileage on his mechanical arm using switches operated by his tongue to move back and forth over the canvas. Cliff was a well-known member of the Billings community through his annual art show at Rimrock Mall and as a longtime congregant of Faith Chapel. He was always willing to tell people his story and of the love he had for Jesus and for giving him the opportunities he had. Of all of those gifts, he was proudest of his family and four children. Among Cliff’s other accomplishments were to finish High School and to go on to get two college degrees. His first degree was a B.S. in Art and his second was a Masters in Counseling. Cliff was loved by many and will be missed greatly by his family. We know that Cliff is finally able to run around and dance and is putting mileage on a fresh pair of cowboy boots instead of his “Golden Arm” and wheelchair. As hard as it is to say goodbye to him in this life we are so happy that he is in a better place now and without pain. Cliff is survived by his wife Brenda, his children Cristin (Darren) Meznarich, Rob (Michelle) Potts, Bryan (Sierra Langstaff) Potts and Tyler (Maia) Potts. Grandchildren Zooey, Brekken and Saxon Meznarich and Haddie, Willa and Baby #3 Potts. Sisters Dorothy (Russ) McDowell, Cathy Potts, sister-in-law Jerri Potts and brothers Rick (Lisa) Potts, Rod Potts, special aunt Maybelle Collins, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and a newly found extended family, the Cooney’s, of Butte Montana. Cliff was greeted in heaven by his parents Edith and Glen Potts, Franklin Cooney and brother Earl Potts, brother-in-law Gary Weaver, and numerous other friends and family and they are certainly having a party to celebrate a life well-lived.
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Suggested memorials to CLDI of Billings, an organization involved in addiction recovery and other community rebuilding projects. Also, the MSUB Foundation Ben and Shirley Steele Art endowed scholarships.