The Kaycliff Foundation was organized in 2002 by Judge Clifford E. Sanders and his wife Kay as a not-for-profit corporation to maintain their extensive big game trophy and anthropological artifacts collection in a museum-like setting for the use and benefit of the public for educational, training, and recreational purposes.
Judge Sanders, born Clifford Eugene Sanders (1912-2007), was one of nine children born to Henry A. and Ada P. Sanders in Carter, Oklahoma. He attended Southwestern State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma and subsequently moved to Tennessee to attend the Cumberland Law School in Lebanon, Tennessee, in the mid-1930’s. Upon his graduation from law school, and subsequently being admitted to the Tennessee bar, he went into private practice in Kingsport, Tennessee. He married Kathleen (Kay) Marcel Current (1922-2000), of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in November 1945. Kay supported him in his private practice as his secretary and office manager and later served as his secretary during his tenure on the Court of Appeals.
During World War II, Judge Sanders served in the United States Navy as a Fighter Director Officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS San Jacento County. While assigned to battle groups in both the 5th and 7th Fleet in the Pacific under the overall command of Admirals William F. “Bull” Halsey and Raymond A. Spruence, his ship came under direct Kamikaze attack by Japanese suicide aircraft on numerous occasions. He was awarded seven battle stars for his service in combat. His ship compiled a unique, impressive war service record by having fought in more battles and steamed more miles during the last year of the war than any other aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy and was one of the lead elements in hunting down and sinking the Japanese battleship Yamato, the largest battleship ever built.
At the conclusion of World War II he returned to Kingsport and resumed the private practice of law and served as General Counsel for Mason Dixon Truck Lines for many years. In 1970, he was appointed to the Eastern Section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals to replace retiring Judge Luke McAmis. During his tenure on the Court of Appeals before his retirement, he served as Presiding Judge of the Eastern Section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Presiding Judge of the Court of the Judiciary for Tennessee.
In the years following World War II Judge Sanders and Kyle Huddle, a Kingsport native, formed the Tennessee Cable Television Corporation, the second oldest cable television company in the United States.
Judge Sanders and his wife shared a wide range of interests which included world travel, big game hunting, photography, sociological and anthropological interests in primitive peoples and private aviation. They were both licensed pilots and both maintained multi-engine and commercial pilot ratings.
As world travelers, the Judge and his wife went on safaris on every continent on the globe. They traveled and hunted extensively on the North American continent, Mexico, Central and South America, India, East Africa, South Africa, Spain, Australia, Russia, China, New Zealand, and the Amazon River Basin.
As big game hunters, they were both also keenly interested in conservation and wildlife habitat preservation. Judge Sanders was long-time member and past president of the Shikar-Safari Club International, a big game hunting and habitat preservation organization.