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Life Story / Obituary
Firmly rooted in unwavering faith, David Claflin Sr. lived a life rich in family and service to others. With a dry wit and a love for tall tales, David listened with his heart and was a powerful stand for others’ greatness. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, David inspired many and will long live in the hearts and memories of those who were blessed to share his life.
1945 was a year marked by much celebration and hope. With the victorious end of World War II, families tuned into the celebratory tunes of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and the Andrews Sisters, while children delighted in the debut of the slinky. Nowhere was their greater promise for the future than in Lansing, Michigan as Herbert & Lorrayne (Newman) Claflin welcomed their son David into their hearts and home on August 9th.
Growing up in Jackson, MI during the 40s and 50s, David’s childhood was centered on the values of family and faith. While his father worked at Michigan Bell, his mom was a homemaker. As a boy, David attended public school and proudly worked a paper route. During high school, he was a valuable member of the school’s wrestling team.
A few short days after graduating from Parkside High School in 1964, David enlisted in the Army. After a year’s service, he joined the Army National Guard. In 1967, David and his fellow guardsmen were called into Detroit to assist in response to the civil unrest we historically know as the Detroit Riots. As one of the nearly 7000 servicemen called into action during the five days of violent protests of the long-simmering racial profiling, police brutality, and oppressive housing restrictions, David experienced first hand the destructive power of racism and the call for change.
David began working for Michigan Bell in 1965. It was also the year he married Margie. Though their marriage proved short, David and Margie were deeply blessed with their children, Dave and Kelli. David's son and daughter were his joy, and he relished in the honor of being their father.
In 1973, as a Bell regular who hung out at Rex Café, David had the good fortune of meeting Candy Confer. It didn’t take long for David to ask her out and for the pair to become a couple. They happily married on May 11, 1974, at Cooper Congregational Church in Kalamazoo. For over 44 years, David and Candy made their home in Kalamazoo.
1992 brought tremendous change for David. It was the year he found AA and took the first step towards the gift of 26 years of sobriety. During these years, David became a committed member of the AA fellowship. He consciously worked his program and freely gave himself to 12th step work. David lovingly shared his experience, strength, and hope and in so doing ensured not only his own sobriety but the sobriety of many others.
In addition to his program, David was a devoted Christian who consciously strove to embody the values of his faith. With the Bible as his guide, he loved unconditionally, practiced forgiveness, encouraged peace, and remained humble.
When Michigan Bell downsized in 1993, David lost his job. Despite the disappointment and uncertainty that came with losing his job, David came to trust that it was time to follow a new path. Leaning into his faith and program, he attended KVCC and earned his associate’s degree which he then followed with a Bachelor’s degree from Spring Arbor College. With his degree in hand, David began working as a social worker at Jackson Prison.
David and Candy enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. During the 80's they traveled throughout the country exploring the beauty and wonder of many states including Florida, Texas, South Carolina, and Kansas. He liked barns and tractors and was particularly proud of the John Deere 50 he restored and drove in parades for several years. When he listened to music, he preferred the tunes of country singers, and his favorite recipe was eating out!
Possessing a dry sense of humor, David loved a good prank. He knew how to weave an outlandish tale that instantly hooked the listener and took them for a lengthy and involved ride until they finally realized he was making it all up. As much as he was an accomplished storyteller, he was equally known for his listening. David fondly earned the status of “the social worker” at the local coffee shop he frequented and where he was always willing to listen “free of charge.”
Clearly, David’s departure has left us with a sense of loss and sadness. May it afford deep comfort to know that with each moment we honestly share our story, lend our listening to another, lean into our faith, and give what we have away, we continue to share the beautiful legacy of this good man. In this way, David will continue to inspire others as he so inspired us.
David Claflin Sr., age 73, of Kalamazoo, passed away on October 8, 2018. David was born on August 9, 1945, to Herbert & Lorrayne (Newman) Claflin. Visit with his family and friends on Saturday, October 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home Marshall & Gren Chapel; 120 S. Woodhams St. Plainwell, MI 49080. A memorial service will follow at 11:00 a.m. at the same location. David’s family includes his wife of 44 years Candace (Confer); two children: Dave (Ledona) Claflin of Boerne, TX and Kelli (Aaron) McKague of Beaumont, TX; three grandchildren: Brennan Claflin of Dallas, TX, Chelsea (John) Smith of Dallas, Tx and Chase Marshburn of Beaumont, TX; two brothers: Steve Claflin of Yakima, WA and Ronald (Cheryl) Claflin of Mason, MI; three aunts: Melba, Joyce and Marcia as well as a niece, a nephew and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Penny. Please visit David’s memory page at www.mccowensecord.com where you can read his life story, archive a memory or photo and sign his memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to Rose Arbor Hospice or the charity of your choice.