On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, George W. Radcliff II Sr. passed away after a long-fought battle with cancer at the age of 79. Born in Mobile, Alabama, on January 4, 1941, George was the son of Herndon and Mary Radcliff and a passionate man who lived life to the fullest. “My dad was a larger-than-life character who lived every minute of every day and at least ten lifetimes,” Fontaine Radcliff shared. “He taught me to love people, the sea, horses and dogs. He also did not judge others, was kindhearted and generous to a fault and his word was solid.”
Striking oil on his Celeste ranch property in Saraland, Alabama, George suddenly found himself with the financial means to pursue polo. “Big George” loved the game and spent most of his years playing in Point Clear, Sarasota, Gulfstream (now defunct) and Memphis polo clubs but he also traveled to polo clubs such as Sheridan, Aiken, Atlanta and New Orleans. “George was a great guy, a really fierce competitor on the field and a fun person to be around,” said USPA President and former Point Clear Polo Club manager Tony Coppola. “He made a lot of his own horses and took pride in them.” “Polo was a lifestyle for my dad for many years and I could not begin to name the friends who he had across the globe who will miss him,” Fontaine added.
George Radcliff playing Capi.
George was also the stepfather to former USPA Chairman Chip Campbell and he considered Chip and his siblings like his own children. “Big George had a major influence in my life and to some degree made me the man I am today growing up with him as my stepfather from second to eighth grade,” Campbell shared. Teaching Chip how to ride, George is credited with exposing him to polo in his early years. “He [George] had no problem taking my stepbrother Les and I to try horses we found in the newspaper,” Campbell said. “We would ride in his truck to a pasture and try to catch and saddle the horse we wanted to buy.”
Radcliffe (pictured left) with his daughter Fontaine Howard and George Radcliff III.
George is survived by his wife of 19 years, Karen Mckenzie Radcliff, his son, George W. Radcliff II, his daughter, Fontaine Howard, and eight grandchildren all of whom he loved greatly. Fontaine, his son George and all eight grandchildren still live on the family ranch.
A celebration of life in his honor and a polo game is currently planned for spring 2021 in Point Clear, Alabama. In lieu of flowers, George requested that a gift be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.