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On Monday Gary Brent Clifford went to his heavenly home. One of Gary's daily worship routines was to send an email devotion to fifty plus individuals. He ended each one with "Have a Christ centered day." That is how he lived his life! His failing health made the daily trips to the computer more difficult and after sixteen years he sent his last devotional entitled "Dress Rehearsal for Heaven" by David Jeremiah. Gary knew his earthly time was drawing to a close and he was prepared and looking forward to leaving the trials of dealing with many health problems he endured for a long time.
Born August 29, 1944, to Lowell and Dorotha Miller Clifford, after ten years of marriage, the Clifford's were delighted with the birth of their first child. Gary's earliest years were spent in the Fairview and Harrison townships. When he was in the first grade, his family bought a farm east of Orange. Gary loved growing up on the farm. Every day on the farm was an adventure. He learned to drive a John Deere tractor and worked with his dad in the fields at very early age. Gary participated in 4-H for ten years, completing many projects. He was a charter member of the Buckaroos Horse and Pony 4-H Club. He loved showing Star and Princess, his horses, and won numerous showmanship awards. The Fayette County Fair was always a highlight of the summer for him.
He became active in youth baseball going through the progression to the American Legion Teams. He was an outstanding pitcher. Because of the fire that destroyed the Orange School, Gary attended Rushville High School for four years and was a member of the class of 1962, the first class to attend all four years in the "new school." He served as a class officer three of the four years. Living in Fayette County, he found himself facing his RHS team mates in summer baseball as he played in the Fayette County programs. He made the All-Star team and wanted to continue playing baseball in college, but injuring his arm, he was not able to. Gary lettered in cross country, football and basketball at RHS. After attending Indiana University for two years, he accepted a clerk position with the FBI working in Indianapolis in preparation for further training to become an FBI Agent. Having married Paula Dolan in 1964, he decided not to continue with the FBI, moving to Columbus where he spent 39 years. Gary was employed many years as a purchasing agent for Arvin Industries. Later he worked in real estate, being a licensed broker and appraiser. Eventually he became self employed managing a small property management and contracting business.
During his many years in Columbus, he enjoyed coaching youth sports including basketball, baseball and soccer.
Gary was a member of the First Christian Church in Columbus where he was an Elder serving the church in many capacities. He had become a Christian at an early age accepting the Lord and being baptized at the Orange Christian Church where he was a member for many years until moving to Columbus, but continued to attend as the Clifford's spent many weekends in the Fayette and Rush Counties visiting his grandparents and family farms.
After knowing each other as children, he resumed a friendship with Grace Anna Turner and they were together for seventeen years. They were married at Glenwood United Methodist Church on August 16, 2008. Gary resided in Connersville since 2000. One of his favorite activities was working out at Healthworks and renewing acquaintances as well as making new friends. He attended Glenwood United Methodist Church.
Gary enjoyed all computer challenges and was quite proficient. He was an avid reader, enjoying the Kindle reader very much. Photography, especially photos of old barns, covered bridges and churches as well as wildlife were a great interest.
A serious interest in genealogy was another passion that he worked on almost daily when his health permitted. He and Grace did research in many cemeteries, courthouses and libraries in Fayette and surrounding counties to collect data. Gary's ancestors first came to Fayette County in 1823 purchasing land in Fayette and Rush Counties at the land office in Brookville, making Gary the sixth generation of Cliffords in Fayette County.
Gary is survived by his loving wife, Grace Anna, who was his best friend and whom he referred to as his Angel. He is also survived by two children, his son, Brent (Tracey) Clifford and daughter, Anne (Charlie) Koontz; grandsons, Blake Fields and Carson Fields, and a granddaughter, Payton Koontz; son-in-law, Bob Gatsey; two stepgrandsons; a stepgranddaughter; and a brother, Jerry Joe ( Nancy) Clifford. Gary will be greatly missed by special friends, Rob and Wanda Vaughn. Wanda helped Grace with his care giving. Also missing Gary will be his dear little friend, six-year-old Brandt Aiden Lykins and his family who loved and helped brighten Gary's days.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents and his loving daughter, Amanda "Mandy" Gatsey in 2008. Gary was looking forward to their heavenly reunion.
Funeral services will conducted at Urban Winkler Funeral Home on Friday, March 7, 2014, at 2 p.m. with Minister David Stephens and Ron Vaughn officiating. Burial will follow at Orange North Cemetery. Friends and family may visit at the funeral home on Thursday evening from 4 to 8 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Connersville Babe Ruth.
To sign the online guestbook or to send the family a personal message, please visit www.urbanwinklerfuneralhome.com.
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