William Ray Cliffman, Sr.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

William Ray Cliffman, Sr., age 74, Bronaugh, MO passed away on Sunday, April 7, 2024, at Mercy Hospital in Joplin. Billy Ray was born December 12, 1949, in Nevada, MO, the first of two boys born to Roy William Cliffman and Hazel Lee Cliffman of Bronaugh Missouri.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Hazel Cliffman; his wife, Delores J. Cliffman; his brothers-in-law, George and Lloyd Schaeffer; and two sisters-in-law, Bonnie Dragg, and Judith Reece. Billy Ray is survived by his little brother, Steve Cliffman and wife, Nancy of Fort Scott, Kansas, and their three children, Danny Pinkerton, Chad Cliffman and wife Suzie, and Susie Castleberry and her husband Adam; brother-in-law, James and Sharon Schaeffer; and sisters-in-law, Darlene Steen, and Janette and husband Jack McCullom; 14 nieces and nephews, and numerous great nieces and nephews.

Bill grew up just west of Bronaugh on a small farm where he and Steve attended Bronaugh School. Bill was in the FFA and played sports for Bronaugh High School until he graduated in 1968. He met Delores at school and fell in love.

They were married in 1968 and had their first of three children, William Ray Cliffman Jr. For a short Bill worked on the construction of Stockton Dam, then worked for OíSullivan's carpooling with his father-in-law, George Schaefer. During this time Bill and Delores had their second child Brad Cliffman. They lived in a small house east of Bronaugh until Bill and Delores purchased their first and forever home in Bronaugh. Bill worked a few years at OíSullivanís until he took a job with his lifetime friend Amos Hinkle working construction in the area.

Bill started coaching summer league baseball when Ray and Brad were young. Bills favorite baseball team was the Kansas City Royals. He took his children to many Royals games right up until recently. Bill was a fun father, always joking around and teasing us - especially his nieces and nephews. He had a deep connection with his family, his brother and best friend Steve Cliffman rarely missed a chance to join their two families in many celebrations playing music, pitch, dancing, and just loving family, this continued throughout his life.

In 1980 Bill and Delores had their third and last child Tonya. During this time Bill began working at Crain plumbing in Nevada MO. Billís hobby was racoon hunting, in fact, he was known for his hunting dogs. He could be found most evenings and into the early hours walking the pasture listening for his dogs to tree. When his father was too worn out to walk, Bill would carry a recorder in his pocket to record the dogs treeing and tracking. Bill also loved making people smile, especially kids. Bill played Santa Clause for several years with Bailey as his elf. One year Brad was driving Santa around and they had stopped at the Ford Family house. As Bill was leaving the house he tripped over a cord going to their Christmas lights making them go out. Bill stepped back into the house at the door and said, "Ho Ho Ho Santa Tripped over some lights out here". Bill was a character. He loved watching all the local sports, especially Bronaugh. He went to almost every game no matter the distance. He would be found in the front row for all events and when her health would let her, he would bring his wife as well. Throughout Billís life he was a people person, a trader, he loved to buy and sell knives, guns, hunting dogs, and horses.

He was the deacon of Bronaugh Christian Church for many years where he and Delores also raised their three children and attended almost every service together. Bill above all believed in God.

In his later years he became known for his pocketknives. Bill and Delores began showing knives at trade shows all over the 4-state area. Bill had a passion for knives and made many good friends along the way.

Bill is survived by his children, William Ray and Gloria Nicole Cliffman of Liberal, Missouri, Brad Cliffman of Nevada, Missouri, and Tonya and Patty Fanning of Talala, Oklahoma. Bill was a grandfather to Kayla and husband Seth Goss, Ty and wife Breanna Cliffman, Stormy Wilson, Steven and wife Stacy Wilson, Bailey Cliffman, Domonic Bray, Enrique Bray, Benito Bray, and three honorary granddaughters, Wynsdae Connelly, Kamberleigh Johnson, and Blaykeleigh Johnson. Bill was Great Grandfather to Rynlee, Raylynn, Miya, Collin, and Liam.

Honestly, one could go on and on naming the extended family which Bill retained in life and shared with his family. Like Russell Madison, Billís very best hunting buddy and friend, or David Couch who was Billís best friend since grade school, or his favorite cousin and lifelong friend Mike Banes, or the one who stood up at his weeding and until the very end was there as his friend Bob Gordon. Bill loved and was loved by many. He will be missed but never forgotten.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 12, 2024 at Ferry Funeral Home in Nevada with Pastor Nick Hardison officiating. Interment will follow in Worsley Cemetery in Bronaugh. The family will receive friends from 5-7:00 p.m. on Thursday evening at the funeral home.

Memorials are suggested in his name to Bronaugh Booster Club c/o Ferry Funeral Home.