Mary E. Clifton

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 26, 2007

RICHMOND—Mary Elizabeth Newman Clifton, 89, born on March 13, 1918 in Newcastle, Kentucky, to Cora Virgie Baker and James Everett Newman, died July 25, 2007.

Her husband, longtime Baptist minister in Virginia, Norman Cecil Clifton, preceded her in death in 1971.

Survivors include her children, Dr. Patricia Elizabeth Clifton Harwood, and her husband, Dr. Richard Kistler Harwood, of Richmond, Virginia and Mary Cecile Clifton Mitchell, and her husband, Dr. Francis Barnes Mitchell, of Halifax; grandchildren, Patricia Bondurant Mitchell of Lexington and Samuel Aubrey Mitchell of Halifax and New York City; stepgrandchildren, Robert Donald Harwood and his wife, Heather Beasley Harwood, Katherine Elkin Harwood Troy and her husband, Charles Sedgwick Troy III, and Elizabeth Bowker Harwood Lacy and her husband, Dennis Patrick Lacy III; and six great-grandchildren, all of Richmond.

She served as minister of education, school teacher, school librarian, and on the staff of a private library, as well as an active wife of a minister across the Commonwealth of Virginia in Southampton County, Surry County, Bridgewater, Lynchburg, Virginia Beach, and Covington, and in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

She was a resident of South Boston and Halifax for 18 years before moving to Richmond in 2002.

While living in South Boston, she was a member and Deacon of First Baptist Church, and after moving to Halifax, she was a member of Beth Car Baptist Church.

A woman ahead of her time in many ways, she was determined to attend college and, following the death of her mother, she kept the home for her siblings until the youngest finished high school, delaying entry to college until she was 23.

She was able to work her way through Georgetown College, Georgetown, Ky., taking heavy class loads to finish in two years and three quarters. She was a loving person who blessed her family with an ability to see the beauty and blessings of simple things of life, and was a living example of how to confront adversity with a positive spirit and determination to move forward with grace.

A service of celebration of her life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Loving Funeral Home, Covington, with the Rev. Dr. Michael Parnell officiating; and burial will follow at Alleghany Memorial Park, Low Moor, between Covington and Clifton Forge.

Memorial donations may be made to Georgetown College, Georgetown, Ky., in honor and memory of former Dean of Women, Rena Calhoun, and the deceased.