Francis was born in Giddensville, NC to Bernice Clayton and Edna Highsmith Clifton. He was raised on a farm with his four siblings and cousin and continued the family tradition with his young bride, Eloise Lanier.
Francis farmed for many years and in 1980 he took a leap of faith and opened Clifton Construction. He loved his new found way of working the land and it showed as his company grew and evolved through the next 30 years. His daughter, Sandra, later joined the business and they enjoyed many years of working together until his retirement in 2016. Even then he loved being a trusted advisor for the company, for Sandra and the employees he loved so much.
Faith and Family were also passions for Francis and he served both with all his heart. He and Eloise have three daughters whom they raised and passed on many traditions and values. All three daughters have lots of stories and lessons they share with others on a regular basis of their years growing up. Family gatherings with Aunts, Uncles and cousins were large and often.
Francis was a lifelong member of Piney Grove Baptist Church. He was ordained a Deacon and served for over 50 years. He also shared his love for the Lord and knowledge of His word as a Sunday School teacher and member of the choir.
He became a member of the Gideon's International in June 1984 and worked for many years to make sure Bibles were made available to everyone that wanted them, as well as to those who may not have known they needed them.
In 1973 Francis was elected to serve on the South River Electric Membership Corp. Board of Directors. He was devoted to the commitment of providing electricity for its members and made many close friends over the 45 years he served. His love and dedication for this organization was a priority for him and lead to his service as President from 2004 to 2016.
Francis was proceeded in death by his parents, Clayton and Edna; a sister, Sarah Rogers; brother Gerald Clifton; and cousin Bryant Clifton.
Francis is survived in death by his loving wife of 64 years, Eloise; daughter Sandra Kay Clifton and husband Gene Darden; daughter Renee Clifton Simopoulos and husband Ernie Simopoulos; daughter Barbie Clifton Wood and husband Art Wood; five grandchildren, William Francis, Audrey Lanier, Sarah Faith, Paige McCullen and Mackenzie Parrish; two great grandchildren, Fynnley and Wyatt; brother John Bernice Clifton; sister Imogene Clifton Baggett; 13 nieces and nephews and their spouses; many great nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family wants to thank all of the beautiful and gifted staff at Kitty Askins that took care of our father and husband these past few weeks. We are forever grateful for you and the blessing you were to us.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 pm on Saturday, the 30th of June at Royal Hall Funeral Home in Clinton. The funeral service will be held at 3:00 pm on Sunday, July lSt at Piney Grove Baptist Church, 1818 N. McCullen Road, Faison, NC 28341 with Rev. Michael Maragelis, Rev. Farrell Miller and Rev. Richard Weeks officiating. Interment will follow at Piney Grove Cemetery. All other times the family will receive at the family home.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Piney Grove Baptist Church or Gideon's International, Sampson County North, P.O. Box 2413, Clinton, NC 28329.