Mr. Paul Ray McClurkin
With the spirit of his family surrounding him, as Amazing Grace filled his room, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, Mr. Paul "Paulie" McClurkin, age 73, of Hastings passed away Monday, November 16th, 2020 at Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital in Hastings, MI.
Paul was born in Hastings, MI on November 18, 1946, the son of the late Floyd and Frieda (Stine) McClurkin. As a lifelong Hastings native, Paulie attended local schools, graduating from Hastings High School.
On May 22,1967 Paulie was drafted into the United States Army. His military journey took him to Vietnam where he served as an Armor Intel Specialist operating an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier in front line combat fighting during the Vietnam War. During this time Paulie and his crew were involved in several combat engagements including one of the largest military campaigns in the war, the Tet Offensive in January 1968. Although he saw some of the worst fighting of the war, his stories were focused on the non-combat adventures (& misadventures) of being in camp with his buddies. Choosing to forgo military rations to eat grilled wild Aquana, pallets of beer, which was brought to an icy cold finish by rolling it over a block of ice, and "Mickie Mouse" boots encased with snow and mud. He proudly shared his black & white slides and photos with his children and their classmates to ensure they could see the "Real Vietnam", and learn from it. Valor is earned, and Paulie did just that; being decorated with the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, The Combat Infantryman Badge and Multiple Purple Hearts. He was a quietly proud US Army Veteran, because nothing needs to be said when "you Rode With The Blackhorse" - 11th Armored Calvary Regiment - Irwin California. PVT. Paul R. McClurkin was honorably discharge from the United State Army on June 14, 1968.
After completing his military service Paulie returned home to Hastings, where he promptly purchased a brand new 1969 Plymouth GTX. This car became an icon, which along with his friends created legendary stories of that Mopar Big Block thundering down a country round after a days work. Late night "run ins" with the local sheriff, and those slow roll "Cruises" down Main street in Hastings.
On March 2, 1979 he was married to Karen (Boise) McClurkin in Hastings MI. Paul and Karen made their home together on Lawrence Road where they raised their daughters together. As the girls grew, Paul was the ever quiet, but always solid father figure ready to support whatever endeavor the girls were involved in. The family pool quickly became a popular hangout for friends, with Paul meticulously monitoring chemicals and keeping it clean so anyone who stopped by could enjoy a beautiful summer afternoon.
Paul spent the early years of his working career employed at Hastings Manufacturing where he worked until 1988, when he accepted a maintenance position with Hastings Area Schools. Paulie enjoyed working at the school, as it afforded him the opportunity to play numerous practical jokes on not only his daughters but their friends. The ever popular, locker full of toilet paper, would always receive that signature "Grandpa Paul" laugh.
As time moved on, the GTX fell silent in storage, the girls grew up and the grandchildren came. Paulie's life forever changed with the arrival of his grandchildren. First Alex, Then Karsyn, Erin & Peightyn. This is where "Grandpa Paul" truly was right at home! As busy parents, we all knew Grandma Karen & Grandpa Paul were standing by waiting to lend a hand and fill a void wherever that may have been. Grandpa Paul became the "Go to" guy for poorly scheduled veterinary appointments, a leaky faucet, or a day cuddling with a sick grand-baby. "Put your order in" for Sunday breakfast; the pancakes always seemed just a little better when grandpa made them. In 2010 Paul retired from Hastings Schools, and devoted much of his free time to restoring his GTX. A project that took several years to complete. On any given summer weekend Paulie and the GTX could be seen at local car shows, beaming with pride anxious to tell the stories of a simpler time when muscle cars ruled the strip.
2020 brought a unique set of challenges, but the many hours of learning card games like “bunk”, and “trash” with grandpa made staying at home much more enjoyable. Learning games from Grandpa was fun, but teaching him to play cornhole and ring toss at Jordan Lake was a highlight of the summer.
Sunday October 11, 2020 brought a very special gift to grandpa Paul, on that magical evening with the bonfire glowing, his entire family, spontaneously gathered. It was here for the final time, with his wife of 42 years at his side Paul was surrounded by his daughters & grandchildren, and his heart was truly happy.
Grandpa Paul is survived by his beloved wife of 42 years Karen, daughters, Melissa (Scott) Daniels, Nicole Cronk (Christopher Patten), Broukk (Michael) Woelffer, his sister, Ellen (Al) Sherry, brother, Mike McClurkin, and the apples of his eye, his grandchildren Alex Nichols (Adrian Sinkler), Karsyn & Erin Daniels, Peightyn Cronk, Olyvia, Hazyll, Vyvian, & Ingryd Woelffer, and special friend Sandy Boyer.
A private family service will be held with full military honors provided by the United State Army and the American Legion Post 45 - Hastings, MI.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Daniels Funeral Home in Nashville. For further details please visit our website at www.danielsfuneralhome.net
November 18, 1946 - November 16, 202011/18/194611/16/2020
1 Tree has been planted in memory of Paul McClurkin.