REMEMBERING HIS JOURNEY
Every now and then, the stars align perfectly to bring us someone of great strength and remarkable character. Some ninety-eight years ago, a divine positioning of the stars took place on July 29, 1925, in El Dorado, Arkansas with the birth of Clifton Freeman to Charles Wade Freeman and his wife, Estella (nee Head). Some 35,794 days later, the galaxy aligned perfectly again and took him to his heavenly home on his 98th birthday, July 29, 2023. Beyond all reason, we hoped that our darling Clifton would be with us much longer. After all, he knew how to live and was loved by many, especially his family and friends. Known for his giving spirit, he was a baptized Christian whose generosity and benevolence can be attested to by the many people whose lives he touched.
Though Clifton was born in El Dorado, his family moved back to their hometown of Pine Bluff when he was approximately six years old. He received his earl education at New Town School in Pine Bluff and later matriculated at Pine Bluff's iconic Merrill High School. During his time at Merrill, Clifton was noted for his academic excellence and exemplary penmanship.
Like many other men of his generation, Clifton was a proud American Veteran of World War II. Upon his honorable discharge from the United States Army, Clifton's work career began as a billboard poster with Condray Sign Company in Pine Bluff. In the early 1960s, Clifton's family life expanded, as did his professional progress. He emerged as a Biological Plant Operator at the Pine Bluff Arsenal, became a certified mechanic specializing in foreign car repairs and a prosperous owner of Freeman's Texaco Gas Station and Café; followed by a land clearing business that contributed to the city of Pine Bluff's beautification from 1979-1995.
Overall, Clifton was a man at peace with himself. He was modest, yet too dignified to be humble. Clifton did not suffer fools and his no nonsense nature had no time for frivolity. Lastly, Clifton deeply loved his family and his final wish for them, no doubt, would be for them to preserve unity amongst themselves and continue practicing his works of charitable giving.
Clifton was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Virginia Bernice Armstrong Freeman (nee Daniel); his older brother Charles Wade Freeman, Jr.; his sons Robert Freeman (infant) and Tommie Lee Armstrong; daughter Josephine Armstrong McClinton; grandsons Sean Williams and Clifton Freeman I; grand-daughters Takita McClinton Johnson and Tyanna McClinton; his longtime friend and confidante Reverend Lazeter Rayford.
Clifton Freeman, Sr. is survived by his daughter Barbara Freeman Abraham, her 2 children and 1 grandchild; his namesake - Clifton (Toni) Freeman, Jr. his 9 children and 7 grandchildren, his daughter Doris Jean (WC) Armstrong-McClinton, her 1 child, 9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren; son Timothy (Orange) Armstrong, his 8 children, 13 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren; his late son Tommie Lee's 4 children and 14 grandchildren and his late daughter Josephine's 2 children and 4 grandchildren; his brother Chester (Betty) Freeman, his two sons and three daughters, and a host of cousins, friends and other relatives.
He was a father-figure to his bonus off-spring that he raised as family, Lawrence "Peedie" Hawkins, Sr., John "Henry" Almond, Charles "Chuckie" Jenkins, Curtis Gray and God-grandchildren, Telisha (Gerald) Jones, Corey Anderson and LaTonya Jenkins.
It goes without mention that Clifton was "Daddy" to his grand-daughter, Carmelo who cared for him without fall or complaint until his last day on this earth.
The darling days of Clifton Freeman, Sr. fulfilled so many of blessed for having known him.