Connie R. (Harbach) Clifton
- September 19, 2023
Connie R. (Harbach) Clifton
Connie R. (Harbach) Clifton, 82, of Earlville, most recently of Winterset, Iowa, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, at Azria Health-Winterset. Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, at Earlville United Parish. Family will great friends 4:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, at Clifton-Murdoch Funeral Home & Cremation Service in Earlville. Additional visitation will be one hour prior to services on Sept. 21, at the church. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery in Earlville.
Connie was born, July 23, 1941, the daughter of Herman and Wilma (Grapes) Harbach. Along with several siblings, she grew up on her parents’ farm near Delhi, Iowa, and she attended the local public schools graduating from Delhi High School in 1960.
Connie was united in marriage with James R. Clifton, of Earlville, on Feb. 11, 1961. The penurious newlyweds promptly took up residence in Germany where Jim was serving in the U.S. Army. After many months and many memorable adventures, some involving a decrepit automobile, the couple returned home to Iowa. Jim began work with his uncle at the Clifton Funeral Home in Earlville. Eventually Jim and Connie purchased the funeral home and they lived and worked there for the next five decades or so, raising two sons along the way. Connie was an essential partner with Jim at both the funeral home and the Clifton Insurance Agency. She also operated a small business selling Shaklee Home Products for many years.
Throughout her life Connie was deeply involved in her church, the Earlville United Parish (EUP), as well as many civic organizations in Earlville and the surrounding area. She was truly committed to community betterment efforts and she accumulated countless volunteer hours with the Earlville Community Club, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, various Maquoketa Valley School Committees and Booster Clubs, the EUP Church Council and Endowment Committee, P.E.O., Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars and the Regional Hospital Auxiliary.
In her free time, Connie enjoyed dancing with Jim (mostly polkas but there was a brief disco phase!), playing piano, flower gardening and china painting. The Christmas tree ornaments she painted are treasured by her children, grandchildren and dozens of friends and acquaintances around Earlville. She also loved a good party and she and Jim hosted many; the annual Christmas Caroling parties and occasional sledding parties were legendary back in the day. And almost every evening with family or friends ended with a game (or twelve) of 500.
Connie’s greatest joy, without a doubt, came from her family, followed closely by her many friends. She was a loving and dedicated mother, interested in whatever her sons were interested in, and she fully supported their endeavors. This resulted in sewing lots of Merit Badges onto Boy Scout shirts, loads and loads of dirty camouflage gear and a freezer full of wild game, purchasing the first (probably) Apple IIe in Earlville, chaperoning rambunctious high school students around Germany and, in due time, wholeheartedly embracing a couple of eventual daughters-in-law. She was equally loving and dedicated to her grandchildren and great grandchild. They fondly remember helping Connie and Jim run the cake walk at the Earlville Independence day celebration, going for ice cream every time their grandparents picked them up from school and singing in church on Christmas Eve with Connie accompanying on the piano. They also thoroughly appreciated Connie’s skills as a cook and a baker. French toast was a particular favorite along with Christmas cookies, which Connie tended to decorate with lots of red-hots. As a friend, Connie was kind, generous, loyal and always available for fellowship and fun, especially if it included a trip to Olive Garden.
Connie will be dearly missed by many who will recall her beautiful smile, the twinkle in her eye and her kind heart. Survivors include her husband of 62 years, Jim; her sons, Phil (Brenda) Clifton and Curt (Lisa Laxson) Clifton; grandchildren, Rob (Deann) Clifton, Alisan Clifton and Carli Clifton; a great-granddaughter, Tinsley Clifton; honorary son, Mark (Emily) Mier and honorary granddaughter, Claire Mier; siblings, Janice (Dr. David) Whittemore and Sandra (Tom) Strohm; a sister in-law, Carol Harbach; and many extended family members and dear friends.
Connie was preceded in death by her parents; siblings and an infant sister, Terry Harbach, Harlan Harbach, Wilbur Harbach, Lela (John) Sands and Karen Wente.
Memorials may be directed to Maquoketa Valley Dollars Scholars in Connie’s memory.