BY SHEILA R. McAFEE
Loyal community supporter and beloved educator Clifton B. Mace, Jr., died Oct. 29 of leukemia.
A standing-room-only memorial service was held Nov. 4 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, testament to the wide-reaching effect he had in the region.
Mace, 76, was born in Kingston, Pa., and spent most of his youth in southeast Michigan. A graduate of Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, he began a career in supermarket management before switching to education. Earning his master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, Mace was hired by Trenton Public Schools in 1966 as a teacher at Hedke Elementary, nurturing the lives of thousands of elementary and middle school students during his 30-year career.
From Hedke, he was selected in 1971 as the first assistant principal of the new Monguagon Middle School (now Arthurs Middle School) and then principal of Taylor Elementary School. School officials said Mace also taught at Owen Elementary School for a short time, returning to Hedke as principal for his final assignment with TPS. He retired in 1999.
From the condolences posted on the Martenson Funeral Home website, it was clear that Mace impacted the lives of students, as well as their parents, and fellow educators.
Outside the classroom, he involved himself in organizations that assist children and adults living with physical disabilities as well as civic groups that promote quality of life for Trenton residents.
He was a member of the Trenton Goodfellows board for decades, instrumental in organizing the door-to-door newspaper drive and generating the manpower of fellow TPS administrators, staff and students.
Health issues forced Mace to step back from Goodfellows four years ago, and Mayor Kyle Stack, a longtime Goodfellows member, said his involvement was sorely missed.
“We could always count on Cliff to help in every aspect of our Christmas collection,” she said. “He was there for the door-to-door drive and for the packing day; his personality was always so upbeat.”
Trenton Lions Club members Steve and Norma Horvath echoed Stack’s statement.
“Whenever there was work to be done, Cliff was there,” said Norma Horvath. “Every summer he was there to help set up and take down the Lions trailer at the Festival and he was chairman of our summer golf outing.”
Mace was a longtime member of Trenton Lions, and in June had just been installed to another term as president when he learned the disease had returned.
Despite the health setback, said Steve Horvath, Mace focused his energies on mentoring Steve Williams, who had been installed as first vice president and shadows the president in preparation of taking that office the following year.
“Cliff gave Steve guidance these last few months and assurance that he could fill the role,” said Steve Horvath.
Mace is survived by his wife of 55 years, Beth Ann; their children, Mike (Pam), Michele (Jim) Mans, and Chris (Gina); five grandchildren, and a sister.
In Mace’s honor, memorial contributions are suggested for charities he supported through the Lions: Penrickton Center for Blind Children in Taylor and the Lions Hearing Center of Michigan in Detroit (of which he was a founding board member); as well as the Trenton Educational Foundation.