Beth Clifton remembered as a Gentle, Godly Woman With a Servant Heart

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Catharine Beth Gosney Clifton passed from life to everlasting life on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, following a battle with cancer that started earlier in the year.

Born January 1, 1947, in Grant’s Lick, Kentucky, the only child to Jesse and Ava Gosney, Beth grew up in a loving community full of extended family. Beth often commented that she had a unique childhood – due to the fact her parents were much older and had physical disabilities – but she loved her rural upbringing. Even as a child, Beth enjoyed reading and walking in the woods. Raised in a Christian home, Beth’s faith was nurtured from a young age and church activities were a prominent fixture her entire life, a foundation that would serve her well as an eventual pastor’s wife.

Beth met her husband Gayle in high school, but their romance started after high school graduation, through letters written back and forth while Gayle served in the Air Force. They were married in June 1967. They lived in North Carolina, Kentucky and Pennsylvania before settling in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1979.

Beth’s attention to detail and strong administrative skills served her well throughout her working life – from being the secretary to the president of Cumberland College (now University of the Cumberlands) in her early married years – to office manager of Garden Gate Landscaping, Inc, in Silver Spring. Beth was able to capitalize on her love of learning and on-the-job training in accounting, earning college credit for her years of service and graduating with a BS in Management Studies and a concentration in Behavioral Sciences in 1998, from University of Maryland University College (now UM Global Campus). Beth’s love of writing and solid editing skills were put to good use in her work with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, writing a monthly column for BaptistLIFE and serving as managing editor of the state’s denominational paper. Beth spent her last years of full-time work in accounting at several area assisted living facilities. Even after retirement, Beth kept herself busy with part-time accounting work, most recently providing administrative & accounting support at Christ Community Church of Ashton.

Beth loved playing the piano and singing. She directed church choirs at Olney Baptist Church and Upper Seneca Baptist Church and served as interim music director several times during her husband’s pastorate. Beth was ordained as a deacon at Christ Community Church of Ashton. Beth was also an avid reader and enjoyed a good murder mystery. She was always reading at least three different books and was a nearly weekly patron of Montgomery County’s Public Libraries.

BCM/D Executive Director Tom Stolle said, “In my almost two decades serving the convention, I have been touched deeply by the hearts of Gayle and Beth. Beth was just a real gentle, kind-hearted woman who was extremely supportive of Gayle and his ministries and stood by his side.”

Beth’s brother-in-law Doug Clifton, on the obituary tribute page, called Beth, “Bright, intelligent, funny, caring and compassionate – Beth was one of those few truly good people we meet during our lifetimes if we are lucky.”

BCM/D BaptistLIFE Editor Sharon Mager said she was first interviewed for a writing position with the BCM/D by Beth 25 years ago. “Beth was a loving, gentle woman. She encouraged me in my work and ministry to my family. She almost always wore a sweet, authentic smile and often laughed. In addition to spiritual encouragement, we both enjoyed mysteries and she introduced me to Hercule Poirot. What a gentle, kind, special woman.”

She leaves behind a family that loved her dearly (and that she dearly loved): husband, Pastor Gayle Clifton, and their daughter, Kristin, and son, Joel, and many friends and extended family who will miss her greatly.

A funeral service was held at Christ Community Church of Ashton on Saturday on November 11. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Christ Community Church of Ashton.

Obituary from Roy Barber Funeral Home, with additions by BaptistLIFE editor.