Clifford Eugene Peay, 86, passed peacefully on August 1, 2021, surrounded by family in Brooklyn, Mich. He celebrated 45 years of marriage and was preceded in death by wife, Christine (Borys) Peay and daughter Cherie Ann; his parents, Charles Nason Peay, Sr. and Trannie Ozelle (Whitlock) Peay and most recently brother, Charles Nason Peay, Jr. Survived are his children, Clifford Gene, Catherine Mary (Bill), Carrie Beth (Ian). He has five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Clifford was born during the great depression on February 7, 1935, on a farm in Maben, Miss. He fondly talked about his early childhood memories of climbing on the trees with his brother Charles (Chuck), milking the family cow, harvesting the fields, and running around together with their dog Bozo. During this time, they did not have much but having family was what mattered the most. Clifford describes his parents as loving, yet uncompromising with misbehaving but were always willing to share with those who were less fortunate, and this trait was instilled into him as he grew into his formative years.
During World War II, Clifford’s family moved to the neighborhood of Alabama Village in Mobile, Ala., where his parents worked in the shipyards. They were active participants in their community especially with Victory Gardens. His parents grew squash. Clifford has many times explained that he has eaten so much squash growing up that he spared it for his children’s meals since he had eaten enough for the duration of his children’s, children’s children. Once in Mobile, Clifford describes his amazement with the big city life of hustle and bustle since he had been a simple farm boy. This part of his life was most enjoyed as he and his brother Chuck both talk about this part of their lives the most.
Teachers, doctors, and his friends were most influential as he grew into his person. Clifford explained how most of his teachers ensured he loved school, especially his third-grade teacher who was the most influential and effective in taking interest because of the time he took to make sure that he was learning his subjects. He talked about the care of his neighbor, who was a doctor, and how he gave and provided medical attention to the community. He talked about his fearless friends, especially one young lady who rode a motorcycle.
After the War, Clifford’s family moved to Detroit, Mich. His young adult life brought forth exciting changes when he and five McKenzie High School buddies decided to join the United States Marine Corps. As a Marine, Clifford married his high school sweetheart, Nancy and together, they brought forth a son, Clifford Gene. Clifford and Nancy moved to his first assignment, where he was stationed in Hawaii during the Korean War peace time. He served as a cook in the United State Marines. During this time tv’s were just becoming popular in homes. His daughter asked him if he owned a tv at this time. Cliff’s response was, “You don’t join the Marines to own a TV.” Clifford and Nancy’s marriage ended but in his dying days he still talked about her and the days that were spent in Hawaii.
Clifford married a spirited Polish young lady Christine (Borys) Peay on February 21, 1966. Their marriage brought lots of opposition from family because of the differences from their faith but they did not let that stop them from marriage. At the beginning of their marriage, Christine humorously shared about the first time she asked Clifford to peel some potatoes and within no time he had a 10-pound bag peeled, and they ate mashed potatoes for a month.
She began to put his talents to use, and Dad could make a five-alarm chili that would make cornbread cry. Their marriage brought forth Cherie Ann, Catherine Mary and Carrie Beth. They built a life together in Garden City, Mich. Both Clifford and Christine worked for and were loyal to Ford Motor Company in which they both retired. Their retirement began together, and they lived the duration of their lives in their home on Vineyard Lake in Brooklyn, Mich.
Clifford was an avid outdoors man and sports enthusiast. He was not extravagant in life but lived simply, the same way he grew up. He celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and holidays making them fun and special. He enjoyed traveling or just sitting idle gazing out at the lake. He cheered the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, and the Detroit Red Wings winning seasons and losing seasons. After all, you are loyal to your team in good times and bad times.
He spent most of his summertime fishing on any one of the Great Lakes or deer hunting in the fall. He was a regular golfer on Tuesday’s and a bowler on Thursday’s. He enjoyed socializing with his friends at the local Pub Aggie’s or meeting up at Harold’s for breakfast. Clifford enjoyed anything with a motor, he enjoyed gardening and mowing his yard. He loved his truck, The Beast, and his pontoon boat. He had a sense of humor that made even the tensest moments lighthearted.
Our father was a southern born, handkerchief carrying gentleman who eventually ended up in Michigan. He really loved his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was always generous when it came to helping others less fortunate than himself. He would happily go broke if it meant he helped any of his children achieve their life goals. He worked incredible hours as a factory rat for Ford Motor Co. We were raised with discipline to be independent and successful. He was a role model that any job worth doing was worth doing right. Although his girls were raised in the Catholic faith, he had no qualms of reinforcing the fear of God in his Baptist Faith. Correctable behavior was corrected. Education was a priority. Handle yourself in a respectful mature manner. Words cannot express how greatly we will miss our Dad.