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Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. Let us remember with thanksgiving what God has done through his servant Dan.
Rev. Daniel Floyd Clemons was born in Grand Rapids, MI on June 29, 1944 to Floyd and Sadie (deVries) Clemons. He was reborn as a child of God in the waters of Holy baptism on Feb. 28, 1954. In 1967 he was confirmed in the Christian faith and was fed the life-giving body and blood of Jesus. He was united in holy marriage to Ellen Wellfare on June 25, 1977 and blessed with 46 years of married life together. God also blessed them with a gift of children: Timothy Alan, Sheri Lynn and John Israel. On January 30, 2024, God call Dan home to heaven. He is survived by his loving wife, Ellen, daughter Sheri and son John. He was preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Sadie and his son Timothy. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord. We give thanks to God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord for our brother Dan.
Dan graduated out of the first class at Forest Hills Central in 1962. He loved working on cars. He loved his Lord. He played guitar and sang as well as writing a few songs. Dan and I often sang together throughout our marriage with him on guitar. Dan worked at Breton Shell. He even put gas in the Oscar Meyer Weiner one day. He had a souped up 1964 Corvair Spyder. He and others would drag race on 28th St. against the “big boys” – GTO’s, Corvettes, etc. He always won much to the dismay of those “big boys.” He was a manager at the Dog ‘n Suds. The local and state police stopped in daily for their coffee breaks. They all got to know him well. He would frequently get stopped in his 1962 Corvair with the warning, “you need to slow it down Dan.” He worked for Bob O’Neill repairing Corvairs. The stories he could tell about his time working for Bob. There were also many times the stories included Bob’s brothers John and Pat. So many times Dan would start to tell a story and get laughing so hard he could hardly finish. It didn’t take long for everyone to be laughing uncontrollably. Later Dan worked at O’Neill’s Body Shop for Bob’s brother John. For someone who was color blind Dan could lay a beautiful coat of paint on a vehicle. He also worked in Kaleva, MI as a mechanic. He worked for Bob O’Neill installing cable TV in apartment complexes in Grand Rapids, MI and Fort Wayne, IN. Their crew was so good that Grand Rapids and Fort Wayne couldn’t keep up and ran out of work for them.
At 39 years old, Dan could no longer ignore the 20-year nudge of God calling him into the ministry of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. In 1983 he applied at Concordia College in Ann Arbor, MI. It was way past all deadlines for any funding and a few weeks later, he was told he had received all the funding he needed for his 3 years of school. As he continued to contemplate this major life change, I told him to let me know if he was going to say no so that I could go as far away as possible so when the lightning bolt struck him I wasn’t around. He said yes. So in 1983, with our 3-year-old, we headed to Ann Arbor. Dan was older than most of his professors and earned the nickname “Gramps” by the students. In 1986, we headed to Fort Wayne IN to the Fort Wayne Theological Seminary. He attended for 2 years. In year 3 we went to Joliet IL for vicarage then back to Seminary for year 4. Dan graduated with a Master of Divinity Degree in 1990. He was placed at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Willmar MN as associate pastor. On July 1, 1990, he was ordained and installed at Our Redeemer. In 1995, Dan accepted the call to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Virginia, MN as pastor. In 2002, he accepted a call to Trinity Lutheran Church in Newberry and Paradise Lutheran Church in Paradise as sole pastor. In 2014, at 70 years old he retired. At that time we moved to Alto, MI to be caregivers for Ellen’s dad in Ellen’s childhood home. In Oct. 2018 we sold the house and moved to a condo.
Dan had battled dementia since 2012. It is a wicked disease. He died peacefully. I am at peace.
Dan loved being a pastor, a shepherd to his flock. The ministry is truly where his heart was.
Dan loved his sons and daughter. His pride in them was evident even when there were the occasional “bumps” in life. He was such a good dad. He loved life, always had a smile, a positive word and laughter that was contagious.
Dan’s love for Ellen, his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, niece, nephews, cousins, his congregations, friends was always pure and unconditional. He has left a wonderful legacy for all who knew him.
As I reflect on this man and his life, how does one share the joys, sorrows and accomplishments in a few words of an obituary? What is written is only a glimpse of the man and his life. Those who met him and those who knew him understand.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Faith Hospice or a charity of your choice.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, February 18 at Bethel Lutheran Church (18645 W. Howard City-Edmore Rd., Howard City, MI 49329. Visitation will begin at 3:00 PM with the service at 4:00 PM with a luncheon to follow.