Clarence William Trafton was born July 18, 1921, in McLennan County, Texas and peacefully passed on June 9, 2021, in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
Clarence enjoyed talking about growing up in West, Texas, working at the paper mill and taking music lessons from Willie Nelson’s grandmother.
He entered the US Army in 1942 at the age of 21. The war was escalating, France had fallen, and Great Britain was on the edge. After basic training in California he advanced to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he met and married his wife, Crystal Beasley. The day after their wedding his unit was shipped out, and not long after, he boarded a ship for England with his unit, the 741st Tank Bataillon, 1st Army.
Modest and humble, Clarence would quickly dismiss the title of war hero, but his distinguished military career, including over two years in foreign countries and six major battles from D-Day to the Bulge, proves it is true. On D-day, June 6, 1944, the Allies landed on Omaha beach in Normandy, France, with his 741st as part of the second wave. For its actions, the battalion was awarded its first of several Presidential Unit Citations. He returned to the US in 1945 and moved to Kansas City, Missouri, to rejoin his bride and meet his new family.
They later settled in Richmond, Missouri, raising three children, Terry, Jack, and Melody. Active in the church, Clarence served as a Deacon for many years at the First Baptist Church of Richmond. After his wife passed, he retired from the UAW and the Ford Motor Company and continued his life-long passions of fishing and making his own lures, square dancing, and baking. He was well known for his addictive peanut brittle and giving unexpected gifts of cookies and candies. His recipe for rhubarb cake is published in the Kentucky Bed & Breakfast Cookbook under the title “Old Geezer Rhubarb Cake”.
Loved by many, Clarence was preceded in death by his wife, Crystal (1986), his parents, Fannie Jones (1995) and James Trafton (1965), brothers, Alvin (1995), Marvin (1995) and JB (2000) Trafton, son Terry Trafton I (1975) and daughter Melody Goodwin (2013). Clarence is survived by a son Jack Trafton and wife Maria, and son-in-law Charles Goodwin II. He was admired by his seven grandchildren, who knew him as ‘Pa’, Terry II and wife Robin, Ann and husband Jon, Gretchen, Amee and fiancée Shane, Charles III and wife Cheyenne, Christopher and fiancée Kirsten and Elisa. And eight great grandchildren, Willie, Jackson, Grace, Kaylynn, Chase, Shane II, Shawn and Byrdie.
The funeral will be held on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at the First Baptist Church of Richmond, 306 West Main Street, Richmond, MO, 64085. Visitation starts at 1:00 pm, Service at 2:00 pm and burial at Richmond Memorial Gardens. A full military honors will be provided by the Ray County Veterans and United States Army.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the First Baptist Church of Richmond or The American Legion, organizations Clarence supported for decades.