CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) – Family and friends came together Saturday to remember a Citrus Heights man who died after being stranded in the Sierra for nearly a week.

People who love and miss Roderick Clifton filled the Citrus Heights home where he grew up to remember him.

“We’ll be able to put him to rest and move on and get some closure,” brother Kent Clifton said.

Candles lit up the night as Roderick’s family and friends came together to grieve over his death and celebrate his life.

“Just seeing all these people here, especially this time of year when everyone’s got their own stuff going on, it’s amazing,” said Kent.

Roderick and his girlfriend Paula Lane were on their way to Nevada when their jeep got stuck in the snow just south of Lake Tahoe. Both were trapped in frigid conditions for nearly a week.

Lane managed to survive by making camp in a large tree trunk, and eating tomatoes, until help arrived. Roderick’s body was found by search crews.

“Unreal, I can’t believe that he’s gone,” friend Curtis Monks said.

Longtime friends of Roderick say he was an experienced outdoorsman, and his death is still a complete shock that could take a while to sink in.

“For him to die like this, it’s not right,” said Monks.

“We’d also like to thank all the volunteers from search and rescue, and those who helped on the state and local level. All your support will not be forgotten,” sister Alexis Clifton said at the memorial.

Meanwhile, Roderick’s family thanked the search crews that kept looking until he was found. Friends of lane came tonight to thank Roderick for his ultimate sacrifice.

“God bless him, ’cause he gave his life to save our little girl’s life,” Lane’s friend Tracy Myers said.

Roderick leaves behind three daughters.

Paula is still recovering at the hospital, but she is expected to be okay.


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