Clifford Booth was born in Chorley, England, in March of 1932. After serving a stint in the British Army, he returned home and married Margaret Miller. In 1956, with a year old baby, they crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Mary and settled in Burton, Michigan with Cliff’s uncle and aunt, Walt and Hilda Booth. They bought a home in Burton, and Cliff worked for Chrysler in Flint. They raised three children – Carole, Jim and Linda – and took many trips towing a trailer around the US and Canada.
Cliff was a musician – a trumpeter and a singer. He played every night with the band on their trip across the Atlantic – a fact that was not appreciated by Margaret, who was stuck in their room looking after the baby. In Michigan he continued to play the trumpet, and was director of the GM men’s choir. He was also a motorcycle enthusiast – an interest that he passed on to two of his grandsons. He was also active in his church, Atherton United Methodist.
Tragedy struck, early and often. His oldest grandson, Kris, died in 1998. Carole died in 2001. And then he lost his wife, Margaret and his younger daughter, Linda just two months apart in 2006. I don’t think he ever got over Kris’s death. Two years ago he showed me a fragment of Kris’s car that he had picked up at the site of the accident that took his life. Cliff had carried it around in his pocket for 8 years, and probably still had it when he died. After Margaret’s and Linda’s deaths, Cliff went downhill. He rallied a little last year, but by Christmas it was clear that it was just a matter of time.
He passed away today, a month short of his 76th birthday. He is survived by his son Jim, his grandchildren Lindsay, Justin and Clayton, his sister and sister-in-law, both named Marion, his daughter-in-law Jenny, his son-in-law John, by many close friends, and by me, who has the privilege of knowing him these past eight years and of being married to his granddaughter.