Family pays homage to father

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 2, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

A man’s home is his castle, as the expression goes, and as such his &uot;subjects&uot; should treat him royally. That’s exactly what Clifton L. Gwaltney Sr.’s children did recently for his 71st birthday. During the celebration, he was crowned by his younger son, Barron, as king of the Gwaltney family. They also presented him a plaque featuring family pictures.

Such treatment backs up the father’s comment, &uot;We’ve always been there for each other. I’ve been there for them and they’ve been there for me. We have a great love for one another. We mostly grew up as brothers and sisters, not father and mother.&uot;

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By that last sentence, he meant that he and his wife didn’t have act as stern, distant disciplinarians to their children.

Another example of family closeness: &uot;In 2000 we renewed our vows. Our children gave a cruise to the Bahamas. We were accompanied by our oldest son and his wife, Pauline.&uot;

Gwaltney has ruled in a different way, having been a past master for three terms at the Masonic Lodge No. 77. Other positions of authority include serving as president of the Issac E. Williams Male Usher Board for nine years at First Baptist Church, Mahan Street, where the Rev. Steven G. Blunt is the pastor. Rev. Isaac E. Williams is the pastor emeritus.

Gwaltney attended East Suffolk High School, and later moved to the Berkley section of Norfolk and attended Booker T. Washington High School.

Gwaltney evidently inspires friends, for two of them were instrumental in getting him into Planters, where he worked for 43 years and had been laid off a day.

Name? Clifton L. Gwaltney Sr.

Age? 71

Hometown? The Saratoga district of Suffolk. He now lives in the Hollywood section.

Family? Sylvia Mae Rodgers Gwaltney of 53 years; Kathleen Beale, Clifton L. Gwaltney Jr., Veronica L. Gwaltney, Devieta Moore, Barron D. Gwaltney; 8 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and one godchild, Kelly Dadis.

Career/Occupation? First worked in the sanitation section and then maintenance department for Planters Peanuts. I worked there for 43 years. Now I am working as a shuttle driver for Beamon and Johnson, the auto parts place on South Saratoga Street.

Favorite thing about life in Suffolk? Suffolk is a quiet place to live, and we don’t have the weather that other cities and states have. I love Suffolk because we’re the largest peanut market and I love peanuts.

Least favorite thing about life in Suffolk? None that I know of.

What accomplishments are you most proud of? My home. I got four cars, and I do have a house across the street that I purchased. I love my children.

What motivates you? If I got a job, I like to do it early in the morning, and then I have the remainder of the day to do other things.

Favorite way to spend your free time? Television and doing a little type of work, electrical and plumbing; whatever needs to be done. I enjoy cooking the most.

What are the ingredients for a good life? A good life is to attending church and giving God the praise that’s due him. I like to attend Sunday School.

What word of wisdom would you like to share with others? Encourage other people to do their best and do the things that are pleasing to others. I like to help people. It is better to give than to receive.