CLIFTON MOORE, 'MR. AIRPORT,' 80.
LANCASTER - Retired Los Angeles airports chief Clifton Moore, who headed the airports department for 25 years, has died at age 80.
As the Los Angeles airport system executive director from 1968 to 1993, Moore was in charge when the city began buying 17,700 acres of Palmdale land in 1970 and when it signed agreements to use Air Force Plant 42 runways for intercontinental airline flights.
``As 'Mr. Airport' in Southern California from the '60s to the '90s, Clif Moore recognized better than anyone the importance of an airport system to the city and the region,'' said Lydia H. Kennard, current executive director of Los Angeles World Airports.
Moore died Tuesday in the Quartz Hill area, where he was living in retirement with his wife, Betty. They had resided in the Antelope Valley for about 25 years. No services had been scheduled as of Wednesday.
Born in Massachusetts, Moore gave up a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and joined the U.S. Navy in 1940 at age 17 because his family needed his paycheck.
Moore was serving at Pearl Harbor on a destroyer when Japanese planes attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. Dodging bombs, his destroyer made it out of the harbor.
After World War II, Moore became an electrician for the city of Los Angeles. He was hired as the airport building superintendent in 1959 and later became administrator for a giant expansion project that created the modern Los Angeles International Airport.
He was named deputy general manager of the Department of Airports in 1966 and its executive director in 1968.
He took over the top spot the year after Los Angeles bought the Ontario International Airport. He was in charge when the city announced its Palmdale airport plan in 1969 and during LAX's $750 million expansion for the 1984 Olympics.