Rev. Clark R. Umfleet was the best of men.
He was born on May 7, 1939 to Claude and Lillian Umfleet, in Edmore, Michigan. Clark grew up with two brothers, Larry and Mike, and their sister, Kay. He graduated from high school in 1957, and joined the Air Force, serving as an airplane mechanic at Palm Beach AFB, in Miami, Florida, and then at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was honorably discharged in May, 1962.
At church, in Bethany, OK, he caught the eye of Leanora Mae Kinnamon. On their first date, she made fun of his last name. He said, “Don’t laugh, it might be yours someday.” On their second date, he proposed. They married on December 30th, 1960. Together, they had five boys, and enjoyed 60 years of marriage.
He enrolled at Bethany Nazarene College in 1963, and graduated in 1969 with a degree in pastoral ministry. He was ordained in the Wesleyan Church in 1972.
He was a loving husband, a great father, a faithful pastor and an avid outdoorsman.
As an outdoorsman, he was a bowhunter and a fisherman. He would begin every hunt with a recitation of Genesis 27:3. “Take up your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out into the fields and shoot me some venison.” And then he would pray, thanking God for “the great out-a-doors!” To us, he was, and will always be, the bull of the woods.
As a pastor, he was a soul winner and a man of God. He would always say that he was building his riches in Heaven whenever he helped others out of the kindness of his heart. Clark served faithfully as an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church in Brentford, SD; Miles City, MT; Johnson Corners, ND; Helena, MT; and Harlowton, MT
As a father, he was a mentor, teaching us boys to hunt and fish, to garden and to woodwork, to wrench and repair, to approach whatever was before us with integrity and a strong work ethic. “Can’t never did anything.” At work or at play, it was important that we were together as a family.
As a husband, he was an amazing role model of faithfulness and love. Clark and Leanora did everything together. They were hunting partners, fishing partners, golf partners. For many years he labored in the garden, and she would reward his efforts with something homemade from the fruits of his garden, like strawberry rhubarb pie. When her abilities were lost to dementia, he taught himself to make the pies. Not for himself, but for her. Many times he would say, “I made a couple of pies today. Take the one from up on the shelf, before your mom gets it. She ate the other one all by herself.”
On September 13, 2021, Clark took a ride in the ambulance to the ER to get checked out. His legs didn’t feel quite right after a fall. He talked calmly and casually with the EMT’s. He detailed his plans for the rest of the day. Then, his breathing and his heart slowed, and he quietly and painlessly slipped from this life into the presence of God. He knelt before Christ, and with his tongue confessed Jesus as Lord. The gates of Heaven opened, and he heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” He now lives eternally in the great reward of Heaven, forever in the presence and love of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
Clark was preceded in death by his parents, Claude and Lillian, and by his siblings, Larry, Kay and Mike. He is survived by his wife, Leanora; by his sons and their wives, Rob, Dave and Lisa, Rick, Jim and Diana, and Mark and Dori; his daughter-in-law Janna; and by his grandchildren, Robbie, Bethany, Jabin, Naomi, Isaiah, Solomon and Cole.
A memorial service for Rev. Clark Umfleet will be held on Saturday, October 2, 2021, at 11:00 am, at The Point church in Forsyth, Montana. Flowers can be sent to The Point, 148 W. Cedar St. in Forsyth. Cards can be mailed to The Umfleet Family, PO Box 1204, Forsyth, MT 59327. Memorial donations can be made in his honor to The Back Roads Parish, PO Box 945, Forsyth, MT 59327.