Mr. Clarence Lee Abernathy

1922 - 2021

Graveside Service for Mr. Clarence Lee Abernathy, 98, of Alexander City, will be Saturday, January 9, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at the Hillview Memorial Park. Dr. Steve King will officiate.

Mr. Abernathy passed away on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at Chapman Assisted Living (Alexander City). He was born on September 12, 1922 in Tallapoosa County, Alabama to Grady L. Abernathy and Mary O. Pless Abernathy. He was an active member of First Baptist Church Alexander City.

He married Mary Lois Penton of Hissop, AL in 1948, and they were blessed with three children, six grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. Lois was the love of his life; he cherished her until her passing in 2015 and continued to grieve her until his final days.

Mr. Abernathy attended the Alexander City schools and began working in Russell Mills #6 Mill when he turned 16, working on the shift that started after school was out in the afternoon. He continued working in the mill after high school, only interrupted when he volunteered for the Navy in World War II. He returned to Russell after the war, and in the late 1940’s was offered a job in the Knit Goods Division sales office in the Russell Main office. He continued to work in that part of Russell’s business until he retired in 1988 as Vice President-Marketing in the Knit Apparel Division and was one of just a handful of people who worked for Russell for 50 years. Even after 30 years of retirement he still spoke often and fondly of the scores of friends he had among the coworkers, managers, salesmen, and customers he engaged with during those Russell years.

Mr. Abernathy was active in his family, professional, civic, and religious life. He was a member of the Alexander City Lions Club for over 50 years and received many honors for his service and longevity there. He served on the Alexander City Board of Education for four years, and as president for a term. He served on the Tukabatchee Area Council of the Boy Scouts for many years. He was instrumental in the founding and building of Calvary Heights Baptist Church in the 1950’s. Later at the First Baptist Church of Alexander City he served in many roles, including Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School teacher, a deacon for many years, and more recently the Endowment Committee. He delivered Meals on Wheels for about ten years. He was very involved with Alexander City Recycling Council for over 15 years and led that effort for quite a number of those years. In recognition of his many civic efforts, in 2003 he received the Citizen of the Year Award from the Alexander City Outlook.

He was a golfer at Willow Point G&CC for 40 years. While he never became a low-handicap golfer, he was enthusiastic at the game, and had a reputation for being a long ball hitter. He especially enjoyed working with the Russell Lands Boy Scout Pro-Am, a tie between his love for golf, the Boy Scouts, and anything Russell.

He loved and was faithful to his family and was especially loved by them. Not only was he a remarkable husband, but he was also a cherished brother, uncle, and grandfather to a large extended family. He is remembered for his wisdom, which he provided in a calm, collected fashion. He tended to lead by example rather than lecture. He had a knack for engaging with the family by asking many, many questions, in a way that was endearing. He loved to joke with his grandchildren and went out of his way to learn to email, text, and join FaceBook to stay engaged with the younger generations. He is especially remembered by his family as a devoted husband, particularly demonstrated by the way he lovingly took care of his wife Lois for many years as her health was failing, even though he was in his 80’s.

He is remembered by hundreds in Alexander City as a kind, generous soul, who continued to give back to the church and community until his last days. He always had a positive outlook on life, even as his own health was declining. He always made time for others and had a soft heart for the downtrodden.

He is survived by his children, William Lee Abernathy (Claudia) of Tulsa, OK, Jean A. Gregory (Bill) of Henderson County, NC, John P. Abernathy (Ellen) of Jacksons Gap; grandchildren, Nicholas Lee Abernathy (Crystal), William Marcus Abernathy, John Patrick Gregory (Casey), Sarah Kay Gregory, Gregory Penton Abernathy (Robyn), Anne Abernathy Maddox (Martin); great-grandchildren, Mack Abernathy, Lane Abernathy, Rowe Abernathy, Faith Gregory, Grady Abernathy, Henry Abernathy and sister, Mary Jane Aycock.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Lois Penton Abernathy; his parents; brothers, Conrad Abernathy, James Abernathy, Karl Abernathy.

Memorial messages may be sent to the family at

Radney Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

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