Cleother Newton, Sr was born to the late McKinley Sr. and the late Minnie Newton on March 19, 1946 in Edwards Mississippi. He was the youngest of 12 children. At the age of six, he and his parents relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he attended Franklin Elementary School and South High. While in high school, Cleo participated in the Glee Club. As a youth, he would run home from bible study at night reciting Psalm 23 as his shield of protection. He thought that the sign of becoming a man was being baptized and he did just that at the age of 18.
On December 20. 1969, Cleo married Queenie Irene McGee and from this union, they raise three children, Carla, Kishen, Cleother Jr. who he absolutely doted over. Working as a Machinist at Oliver Machinery, Cleo loved the measurements and precision of cutting steel to the most minuscule length. The same precision he displayed when giving advice as a husband, a father, grandfather, a friend, a man of God, and a member of the community.
During his younger adult years, Cleo was a member of the city-famous Ghetto All-Stars Basketball Team, played men’s softball, coached women’s softball, and even coached a basketball team at church. Influenced at a young age by his father, the late McKinley, Sr. and his late mother-in-law, Mother Queenie McGee, Cleo honed his relationship with the Lord.
After his first bout of cancer in 1983, Brother Dee as Mother McGee called him, faithfully attended church and would pick up Mother McGee and Mother Douglas, pillars at Davis Chapel Memorial Church, as an act of service. His service didn’t stop there. His involvement in Davis Chapel Memorial Church of God in Christ led to other roles of servitude. Beginning as an usher in the later 1980’s, his servant leadership spanned more than 30 years. Some of the positions held include but not limited to Usher, Head Usher, Deacon, Head Deacon, Member of the Trustee Board, President of the Trustee Board, Sponsor of the New Year’s Breakfast, Overseer of the Men’s Breakfast, and President of the Corporation.
Cleo was a conversationalist and could strike up a conversation with anyone. He would talk for hours; he was an advisor; a leader, and a man who absolutely loved his family. To know the man Cleo, the husband, the Father, the Grampa, the PaPa, the Great-Grampa, the Uncle, the friend, was to know a man who often said, “Someday we’re going to leave this mean and evil world.” Or he would say, “What you do today, will depend on where you are tomorrow.” Both statements have manifested in his departure from this life. Everyone who came into the presence of Cleo, Deacon Newton, DeDe, could expect to leave with some advice, some words of wisdom, a different perspective about life.
Married to one woman, Deacon Newton, shared more than 50 anniversaries with his bride, the mother of his children, Queenie Irene.
Cleother Newton, Sr. stepped from time to eternity on October 9, 2020. He was preceded in death by his parents, McKinley Sr. and Minnie Newton, his sisters Christine Banks, Beatrice McGhee, Elizabeth O’Neal, Martha Strong, Mary Newton, and his brothers Robert Newton, Sr. and Walter (Billy) Newton.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his committed and loving wife of more than 50 years Queenie Irene, one brother, McKinley Newton, Jr. and three sisters, Annie Alexander, Rosetta Anderson and Dorothy Bennett all of Grand Rapids; two daughters Carla (Marvin) Murphy of Niles, MI and Kishen Newton of Grand Rapids, MI; one son, Cleother (Melanie) Newton, Jr. of Wyoming, MI and grandchildren Taj Murphy, Tearria Murphy, Queenie Janique Newton, Grace Harvey, Madison Newton, Kaleese Jeffries, Geonna Jeffries, Kenneth Newton, Trinity Zoe Jeffries, Jared Lovett, Landon Boggs, Roman Jeffries; great-grandchildren Towa, Kaylena, Ezekiel, Elijah, Gabriel and Reign; one cousin Elease Jackson; special childhood friends Paul Mayhue and Willie Peterson; special friend Casey Hunt and and a host of nieces, nephews, family and friends
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