Photography

Clarence Cross

1916 ~ 2019 (age 103)

Clarence Cross, the first child of Napoleon and Omelia Cross, was born January 15, 1916 in a log cabin in Allensville, KY. Clarence was the grandson of former slaves. He was a faithful member of Tabernacle Baptist Church serving as a deacon and was a proud supporter of Tuskegee University. A retiree of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Clarence worked in the architectural division of the engineering department for 20 years and was the head architect for many years. He was the chief architect for the firm of Cross, Curry, de Weaver, and Randall LLC for over 25 years.

Clarence served his country in the Army branch of the military, was an honor guard for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and was honorably discharged in 1945. Soon after his discharge, he enrolled at Tuskegee University and graduated in 1949 as an architect with high honors, turning down the opportunity to teach architecture there. Clarence has always been a big contributor to Tuskegee and started the Milton Love Award, given to the graduating senior that showed the most promise in architecture.

Sharing the same birth date as Martin Luther King Jr., Clarence was a strong advocate of civil rights during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He was part of the Dayton delegation that participated in the 1963 march on Washington D.C., and on his 100th birthday, the Mayor of Dayton proclaimed his birthday as Clarence Cross Day. He was a civil rights giant, a great giver, and an inspirational symbol of progress. Clarence belonged to many organizations, too many to list. Among them were the American Institute of Architects, the American Legion, and the Dayton-Tuskegee Alumni Club serving as their financial secretary and treasurer.

Clarence married Mary Thompson on April 11, 1953. He led a wonderful life that he shared with his wife. They traveled the country by train to many locations.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Mary; parents, Napoleon and Omelia Cross; sister, Esther Minter; stepmother, Lovie Cross. Clarence leaves behind to cherish his memories, stepsisters, Joe Ann Cutts of Ford City, PA, Henri Mae Parker of Ann Arbor, MI; special friend, Catherine Scudder of Dayton; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Clarence's Favorite Scripture:

Proverbs 3:6---‘In all ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path.’

Clarence Cross stayed the path!

Visitation 4-7 pm Tuesday, October 15, at House of Wheat Funeral Home, Inc., 2107 N. Gettysburg Ave. Family will receive friends 5-7 pm. Funeral service 11 am Wednesday, October 16, at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 380 S. Broadway St. Interment Dayton National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts of love be sent to Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL or Tabernacle Baptist Church, Dayton, OH.

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