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Clark Wesley Norfleet (1906-1984)

by phil Norfleet

 

CLARK WESLEY9 NORFLEET (REVEREND ABRAHAM LINCOLN8, JOHN WATSON7, REVEREND ABRAHAM6, JAMES5, JOHN4, JOHN3, JOHN2, THOMAS1 NORTHFLEETE)1 was born 12 June 1906 in Laclede County MO, and died 02 May 1984 in Larimer County CO1. He married VIOLET DOROTHY MORTIER2,3 21 November 1925 in Jefferson County (Golden) CO3, daughter of EMERY MORTIER and DOROTHY MASON. She was born 14 July 1906 in Scott County IA4,5, and died 07 July 1978 in Denver County CO5.

Clark Wesley Norfleet was born in Lebanon, Missouri on 12 June 1906; he was born in the house of his maternal grandfather, William Randolph Mayfield (1834-1914), a prosperous local farmer.  Clark was the youngest child of Reverend Abraham Lincoln Norfleet and Louella Belle Mayfield.

CHILDHOOD

Clark's mother died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1909, when he was only three years old. As a result, the primary maternal influence in his childhood was provided by his older sister, Evalyn, who was eleven years his senior. Since his father was a minister of the Gospel, Clark's childhood was characterized by considerable travel and frequent geographical relocation.

HIGH SCHOOL AND MARRIAGE

In the early 1920's, Clark's father became the pastor of the Mayflower Congregationalist Church in Englewood, Colorado. While a high school student living in Englewood, Clark met the daughter of a neighbor family, Violet Dorothy Mortier. At this time, Clark was quite a handsome and outgoing young man; he rode a motor cycle and was considered a bit wild and exciting to his fellow students at Englewood High School. Clark and Violet began dating and, soon after graduation, they eloped and got married in Golden, Colorado, on 21 November 1925. Both were only nineteen years old at the time and the marriage was strongly opposed by both their families.

Clark Wesley Norfleet (1906-1984) in Englewood, Colorado; Photo Taken in 1925.

Violet Dorothy Mortier Norfleet (1906-1978), Wife of Clark Norfleet; Photo Taken Shortly After Their Marriage in 1925.

LIFESTYLE AFTER MARRIAGE

Feeling unwelcome in Englewood, the newlyweds commenced an itinerant life style, traveling by car all across the United States, working at various odd jobs and frequently staying with relatives and friends. They continued this gypsy life style for about three years, and, although they had very little money during this time period, both Clark and Violet said that this three years was the happiest time of their lives!

In about 1928 they returned to the Denver area, which remained their permanent home for the rest of their lives. During the Great Depression, their economic situation was actually quite favorable. Both Clark and Violet had jobs throughout these years and their combined income was good for the times. They were able to buy new cars (Oldsmobiles) every three years and also acquired some mountain property about 55 miles from Denver, in Park County. At that location, they built a log cabin in 1937. This cabin was used as a recreational, summertime home for many years thereafter.

CHILDREN

Shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Philip Clark Norfleet, the child of Clark and Violet Norfleet, was born on 15 August 1941. Philip was their only child.

WORLD WAR II AND THE POSTWAR ERA

When the United States entered World War II, Clark tried to enlist but was turned down as being too old (over 35). However, during the War, Clark performed defense related work: first, at the Denver Ordnance Plant, and later, at the then top secret military facility at Hanford, Washington.

After the War, Clark returned to his civilian work in the tire and oil business. In the early 1950's Clark became the sales and marketing manager for a Denver based tire and oil company. He remained in this position until just a few years before his retirement. In his last years in the work force, Clark worked as a department manager for Ace Hardware Stores.

Clark Wesley Norfleet (1906-1984) and His Son, Philip Clark Norfleet (b. 1941) seated in front of their mountain cabin, located in Park County, Colorado.  Photo was taken in 1944.

 

RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

During his entire life, Clark was an avid fisherman and outdoorsman. After World War II, Clark became one of the first civilian owners of one of those rather famous military four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles - the Jeep. His first Jeep was a 1942 military model which still had the mounts for emplacement of a 50 caliber machine gun!

Clark and his friends were among the first people in Denver to own 4WD's. They used their jeeps to reach heretofore almost inaccessible high mountain lakes where the fishing was incredibly good. They traveled along old hunting and mining trails that had previously only been used by people on foot or on horseback. During the late 1940's and through the 1950's, vehicle travel on these trails was relatively light and they usually had the high lake fishing pretty much to themselves. By the 1960's, this situation began to change and by the 1970's, it seemed that almost every "yuppie" in Denver had a 4WD vehicle of some sort. According, traffic on the mountain trails became unacceptably heavy and parking at some of the high lakes became a problem. State and Federal officials then began to close off many of these trails to motorized traffic and the halcyon days of the jeep fisherman came to an end.

Phil Norfleet changes the hubs on his Dad's Jeep.  Photo was taken during a fishing trip in the summer of 1955.

RETIREMENT AND DEATH

After his retirement, Clark still drove a 4WD, a 1974 and later a 1979 Scout II, but he rarely did any off-road travel. In July 1978, Clark's wife, Violet, died of cancer after a long illness. In May 1979, Clark married Della Deselm, the widow of a long time family friend. Clark and Della moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where they remained until Clark's death. During the last years of his life, Clark and his second wife took a number of long automobile trips in the United States and Canada, including a visit to Clark's boyhood home in Missouri. In late April 1984, Clark Norfleet suffered a massive stroke and died a few days later, on 2 May 1984.

Child of CLARK NORFLEET and VIOLET MORTIER is:

i.  PHILIP CLARK NORFLEET, born 15 August 1941, Denver Colorado.

 

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