William Clifford Brown, 92 of Sapulpa, crossed over the rainbow to be with the Lord in his sleep Sunday morning, September 12, 2021 at his home just north of Sapulpa. Clifford was born October 31st, 1928 in Pawnee, Oklahoma to Hale Brown and Lillie Hambrick. He was preceded in death by wife Juanita Pearl Brown, his parents Hale and Lillie Brown, sister Sue Thompson, brothers Jack, Hollis, and Bill Brown, and sons Randall Lee and Jeffrey Michael Brown. He is survived by his brother, Bobby Lewis and his wife Mary Hellen Brown of Verdigris, Oklahoma; children Lincoln and his wife Joan, of Yukon, Oklahoma, DeDee Krueger and her husband Neal of Hennessey, Oklahoma; five grandchildren and their spouses and 11 great grandchildren.
Clifford graduated from Ralston High School as valedictorian in 1942 and class President all four years. Clifford’s brother Bob said Cliff and Irma Joe were the best dancers in Fairfax and everyone stopped to watch when they did the Lindy Hop. Later, Cliff served his country in the United States Air Force and then completed the ROTC program at Oklahoma A&M University. While there he earned the rank of 1st Lieutenant and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business. He often said he found his life and the Lord after he married a preacher’s daughter Juanita Pearl Duke, December 29th, 1961 in Stroud, Oklahoma. Prior to that, Cliff said he never set foot in a church. Since that time, he was very active in church and with the Gideons; first at Sheridan Avenue United Methodist in Tulsa, and then First Methodist in Sapulpa since moving to the area in 1971. He was a Certified Lay Speaker for United Methodist Churches and a Qualified speaker for Gideons International. Cliff said he was glad to be a Gideon because the Gideons make a difference and his greatest joy was giving Gideon Bibles in memory of Juanita- she continues to minister.
As a young man Cliff always dreamed of living on a hill. In the late sixties he began to look for land on a hill to build his dream home. The family looked at several potential options while riding around in the car with a dark-haired woman named Cleo Epps (AKA, Queen of the Bootleggers and known associate of the Dixie Mafia). Several options had more land for the price but Cliff wanted the hill. After several delays related to the death of Cleo Epps, and many months of tireless work, Cliff finally completed his dream home on the hill. The place was host to countless Church, Community, and Family gatherings, and Cliff was often heard saying “not bad for the son of a sharecropper.”
Many of Cliff and Juanita’s best friends were members of the Fidelis Sunday School class at First Methodist Sapulpa. In one informal meeting the group decided to form the Sapulpa adult chapter of the Fellowship of Christion Athletes and Cliff named himself President. The purpose of the group was to host an annual FCA ski trip. The longstanding Spring Break tradition became a can’t miss event for Cliff’s family and many in the Sapulpa community. To pay for the trip Cliff would do what he really loved to do…rebuild a wrecked car. After retiring as accountant/ controller from Electrical Power Systems, Cliff continued bringing wrecked cars back to life. He loved sawing them into and putting the front of one on the back of another. But, as the years went by, the projects became less and less profitable. In recent years Cliff would reluctantly agree with his children that he lost money on every job, but made it up in volume.
Cliff was best known for being a good friend, great storyteller, and a giver. He was the first call for so many when their car broke down, or they needed something done around the house. Long after he outlived most of his money, he was still quick to give whatever he had and offer a helping hand. In his last few months, Cliff and the family relied heavily on his fulltime caregiver and friend Marita. At the very end she had to keep his cash hidden, because he was still tempted to give it away. What a life, what a story; and what a great way to be remembered.
Memorial Service is at the First Methodist Church in Sapulpa, Saturday September, 18th at 10:00 am. Visitation and viewing will be Friday September 17th from 4:00 – 8:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers gifts may be made to the Gideons in memory of William Clifford Brown.