Orville Malcolm Claxton, aged 85, passed away peacefully July 17, 2020 at Willow Pond Senior Care Assisted Living Facility in Statesboro, Georgia.
Malcolm was born on August 6, 1934 in the town of Uvalda, GA where he was nurtured by a loving family and community. His father was a sharecropper who died in the field of a heat stroke when Malcolm was a young boy. His memory and love for his father sustained him every day of his life. Malcolm was a life time teaser and loved to laugh and make others laugh too. He and his older brother, Ralph, had fond memories of their childhood and would often amuse their own kids at the Sunday dinner table by the retelling of their vivid childhood antics in Uvalda.
Malcolm attended Brewton Parker College for two years before being drafted into the Army. While attending Brewton Parker College he played basketball and today still holds the Brewton Parker College record for the most consecutive free throws. While in the Army, he played on the traveling basketball team for the 101st Airborne Division.
After his service in the military, Malcolm and his wife, Shandra Revis Claxton from Asheville, NC, made Vidalia, Georgia their home where they raised three children. Malcom started a 50 year career as a car salesman, soon opening his own dealership in Uvalda, GA. His Claxton Ford Sales of Uvalda was the second oldest Ford dealership to be established in the state of Georgia. A Mayberry-like town where the keys to all the cars on the lot were kept in the unlocked cars under the driver’s floor mat. The Ford Place was a morning coffee and checkers hang out with a pool table in the back, along with the company race car which proudly displayed the Claxton Ford name while rounding the tracks. Lots of fun Saturday mornings were spent by his children riding go-carts on the back dirt roads surrounding the dealership.
Malcolm and Shandra were members of First Baptist Church Vidalia where they faithfully brought their children. Malcolm served as a deacon. He was a member of the Lions Club and other Civic organizations. He was known for trying to help those in need. One special memory to him was being able to arrange for a little blind girl in Uvalda to receive her sight through cornea implants sponsored by Lion’s Club. He enjoyed many hobbies and was quite a golfer. He was a charter member of the Vidalia Country Club. His pride and joy was being able to live his golfing dreams through the professional golfing career of his son. He was also proud to see his grandsons take up the sport and enjoyed riding along in the cart watching them play a round of golf.
Malcolm dearly loved his children and was loved by them. He sacrificed his all for their good. He always had time to take their phone calls and had a sixth sense of intuition for knowing just the right thing to say to each one of them. He looked forward each day to the faithful phone call of his youngest daughter and her children. For decades these daily calls provided encouragement for any problems that had occurred that day and always ended with, “I love you.” These youngest of the grandchildren delighted him everyday with their little voices shouting out over the phone, “Hey Papa!”
Though he was a car dealer, he never drove a new car. He always let someone else in the family drive the dealer car while he sported the ‘clunker’. One well-known clunker which brought chuckles to friends was appropriately named the ‘Torpedo’. He was usually accompanied in the front seat by the grand-dogs he inherited, Hershey and Samson. They made the morning drive-through at McDonald’s for sausage biscuits. Malcolm spoiled the dogs just like he’d spoiled the kids. Trips to the Quickie Stores for cherry Icee’s had been their childhood favorite.
Malcolm was a good-hearted man who saw the best in people. He easily forgave the worst and forgot the bad. He held on to his faith everyday. His closing line of his prayer was, “Lord, please forgive us for all our sins.”
Malcolm was preceded in death by his parents, Hilton Phinsey & Lucille McCorkle Claxton; his sister, Annie Lou Claxton Brauer; and dear brother, Ralph Claxton.
May they be rejoicing at their reunion in heaven.
He is survived by Shandra Claxton of Waynesville, NC; his daughter, Sheila (Don) McKee of Statesboro, GA; his son, Paul (Paula) Claxton of Claxton, GA; his daughter, Charlotte (Brian) Morris of Lewis Center, Ohio. Two nephews, Danny Bauer of Seattle, WA; Dr. Ralph Claxton, Jr. of Pace, FL; and a niece, Carol Ann Claxton of Athens, GA.
Malcolm considered himself a very rich man to be blessed with seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren: Matthew (Lauren) McKee, Emma Grace & Hadley Ann McKee (Marietta, GA); (Austin) Susanna McKee Hagan, Khade & Kyler Hagan (Hoschton, GA); Sarah Catherine McKee (Savannah, GA); Paul Parker Claxton, Polly Jane Claxton (Claxton, GA); Caleb Brian Morris, Caitlin Elizabeth Morris (Lewis Center, OH).
Malcolm loved to sing the church hymns. His favorite hymn was “Grace that is Greater than All Our Sins.” May these lyrics be the legacy which draws his grandchildren to follow in his footsteps to the Lord Jesus.
“Grace, grace, God’s Grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.”
“Grace, grace, God’s Grace. Grace that is greater than all our sin.”
A private family service will be held Sunday morning at Deal’s Funeral Home in Statesboro. Burial will be at the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Glennville, GA.
The family expresses their deepest gratitude to Willow Pond Senior Care Assissted Living Facility for the dedicated staff and the love and care which they have so graciously given our loved one for these past three years. Memorials may be directed to Willow Pond Assisted Living, 4344 Country Club Road, Statesboro, GA 30458.