Muriel Cleary1927 - 2022
It is with great sadness that the Cleary family mourns the passing of Muriel Neal Cleary age 94, passing on January 2, 2022 in Cheboygan at the Brook.
Muriel was born on September 14, 1927 in Danville, VA to Jack Lanier and Orra Lee (Price) Neal.
She lived in Danville until 1943 before moving to Lakeland, Florida where she graduated from high school in 1945. Muriel attended Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1949. While at Duke she was a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority and sang in the renowned Duke Chapel Choir. Upon graduation, she moved to New York City where she attended the Katherine Gibbs School, graduating in 1950.
From 1950-1952 she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C. where she met her future husband, Warren Phillip Cleary. They were married on September 1, 1951, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Danville, Virginia.
In 1952, Muriel and Warren moved to Bombay, India, where he embarked on a foreign service career, serving as Vice Consul for the State Department of the United States for three years. In 1955, Warren was transferred to Durban, South Africa, where he served an additional three years as Vice Consul. In 1958, Warren’s final posting abroad was in Asmara, Ethiopia, where he served in the position of Vice Consul until 1961.
In 1961, the Clearys moved back to Washington, D.C. where Warren served as Assistant to Postmaster General for the United States federal government for four years. In 1965, he and Muriel, with their five children, moved to Battle Creek, Michigan where Warren served as United States Director of Civil Defense for a five-state region until his death in 1972.
Muriel resumed her working career for the Kellogg Company in Battle Creek in 1969, retiring after twenty years of service in 1989 as Manager of Consumer Affairs. Upon her retirement she devoted many years of service as a volunteer for the Battle Creek Health System and was an active parishioner at St. Joseph Catholic Church.
In 2002, Muriel moved to Novi, Michigan to be closer to her children. While in Novi, she was a volunteer for the St. John’s/Providence Park Medical Health System. She was also a member of the St. Fabian Catholic Church in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Muriel’s final move in 2013 to Cheboygan where she lived at the Brook Retirement Community until her death.
Muriel was a compassionate, intelligent, well informed woman who enjoyed reading, traveling and passionately followed both news and sports, including her much beloved Duke Blue Devils. She was a loving devoted mother, grandmother, great grandmother and a generous philanthropist to many causes.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Warren in 1972. She is survived by her stepbrother, C. Edward Neal and her five children, Gerald Joseph Cleary II (Henley), Kathleen Cleary Leh (James), Mary Cleary Benjamin (Thomas), John “Sean” Michael Cleary (Carol) and James Neal Cleary (Kim), and ten grandchildren, Erin, Heather, Warren, Ashley, A.J., Jeffrey, Libby, Ian, Robert and Samuel, four great grandchildren, Lyla, Quinn, Calvin, and Cora
We will greatly miss her generous spirit, integrity, honesty and kindness towards others.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be made to Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude Children’s Hospital or a charity of your choice.
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