Clifford Lynwood Athey Sr.

C. Lynwood Athey Sr, 84, of Front Royal, peacefully passed away at his home, on January 20,2021. He was surrounded by his loving children, their spouses, his seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, following a year long struggle with dementia. A private service will be held on Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 2p.m. with internment to follow at the Fairview United Methodist Church. Rev. Gary Heaton, the former minister at the Front Royal United Methodist Church, of which Mr. Athey was a member, will be officiating.

Our father was born in Front Royal, Virginia on September 12, 1936, the son of Connie Marion Athey Sr. and Viola Pearl (Fox) Athey. Early in life, he exhibited unusual athletic prowess, receiving twelve varsity letters at his beloved Warren County High School in basketball, baseball, track, and football. He was heavily recruited to play college football by schools from across the country before accepting a football scholarship from the University of Maryland who, the year prior to his matriculation, won it’s only national championship in football. While at Maryland, our father played for the legendary Jim Tatum on two undefeated Orange Bowl teams, losing each time to the University of Oklahoma for the national championship. In 2007, he was inducted into the Warren County Athletic Hall of Fame.

Following college, he returned to Front Royal and met the love of his life, our mother, Phyllis Anne Madagan Athey who, following many attempts, consented to marry him on November 21, 1959. In order to support his growing family, he began teaching , coaching, and driving a school bus at John S. Mosby Academy, making life long friends of many of his students. By 1965, he had secured a federal government job with health insurance and retirement , initially working in the Department of Corrections before finishing his working career in the Department of Agriculture at the Farmers Home Administration. In this role, our father made crop loans to family farmers and helped construct modest homes with federally subsidized loans for thousands of poor working families throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Whenever a new family moved into the first home they ever owned, our father would buy them bread and a ham which he delivered to their new home accompanied by his wife and children. Following his retirement in 1996, rarely a week went by when our father was not contacted by someone he had helped save their farm or secure their first home.

For many years, our father was a leader in the American Cancer Society Fundraising drive. He was also a member of the Loyal Order of the Moose where he loved to play cards weekly with his high school friends. He also served as chairman of youth activities at our local Elks Lodge where he spearheaded the local hoop shoot contest and the Elks Boys Summer Camp. He was most proud of casting the deciding vote in establishing the first scholarship awarded by the Elks to a graduating Senior from Warren County High School.

Our parent’s marriage was blessed with four children, raised in a Christian home by loving and committed parents. Each Sunday morning our parents would require us to attend services at the Front Royal United Methodist Church which we sometimes complained about to no avail. Our parents worked in tandem during our youth in both correcting and encouraging their children to believe that, with a college education, any goal they sought to reach could be attained. They sacrificed greatly to secure their children an education with our father working two additional part-time jobs and our mother babysitting during most of our school years. Most importantly, they never gave up on their children no matter how many times their children failed to deserve their loving guidance.

As their children excelled in school, our parents patiently reminded each of us that it was important that we use our education to help other people in our community. Our father served as unofficial campaign strategist and our mother served as cheerleader and hardest worker as their children ran for various public offices, celebrating along with the family at the end of each endeavor. Following our mother’s death in 2003, our father dedicated most of his time to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, stating many times that his retirement job was to pick up and deliver his grandchildren to their various activities. Of course, he always stayed to watch and offered advice to each of them following the activity as he had done so many times with each of us.

In the last year of his life, as he faced the horror of dementia, he set the final example for his children of how a Christian faces death. We are most relieved that the Lord has taken him to Heaven. We are also grateful that he was able to remain in his own home being cared for by his family with the assistance of some very special people. Fortunately, up until the end of his life he was still cognizant of who we were and still took great pleasure in recounting all of his life experiences one last time. We will always treasure those last months.

Our father is survived by two sons, Clifford L. Clay Athey Jr. and his wife Stacey Lynne Athey, and Mark Edward Athey and his wife Lisa Marie Athey; two daughters, Kimberly Marion Athey, and Lori Athey Cockrell and her husband Ricky Allen Cockrell; two sisters, Lelia Athey Mauck and Brenda Athey Smith; two grandsons, Patrick Blake Cockrell and Clifford Lynwood (Clayton) Athey III; five granddaughters Sarah Athey Jackson, Katelyn Madagan Athey, Anneslee Clay Cockrell, Kara Marion Athey, and Madagan Marie Athey; two great-granddaughters, Saige Leigh Jackson and Lilly Anne Jackson; a nephew who our father considered a son, Ronnie Madagan; numerous nephews, nieces, grandnephews, and grandnieces. In addition to his mother and father, our father was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Phyllis Madagan Athey; two brothers Connie Marion Athey Jr. and William Sylvester Athey.

Honorary Pallbearers are his nephews, Dwayne Mauck, Dale Mauck, Robbie Smith, Tony Smith, Chris Smith, Ronnie Madagan, Jim Musser, John Musser, David Musser, Chuck Madagan, Teddy Franklin, Roy Skeeter Reed, and John Madagan Jr. Additional Honorary Pallbearers include Felicia Fix, Sandy Franklin, David Toothman, Bill Hammack, and the Warren County High School Class of 1955.

We are most appreciative of the individual care given to our father by Felicia Fix and Sandy Franklin. We are also grateful for all the caregivers associated with Blue Ridge Hospice and the assistance of Gina Athey near the end of his life.

In recognition of the devotion of our father and mother to educating their children, their grandchildren, and the children of countless others, we ask that in lieu of flowers that donations in their honor be sent to the Athey Memorial Scholarship Fund which awards an annual scholarship to Lord Fairfax Community College to a graduating Senior from Warren County High School. Donations may be sent to Athey Memorial Scholarship Fund, 1020 Wine Street, Front Royal, Virginia.

As a result of the covid pandemic, funeral services are private but for those who would like to pay their respects, you may do so at Maddox Funeral Home from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00p.m. on Saturday January 23, 2021.

  23 comments for “Clifford Lynwood Athey Sr.

  1. John Kendall
    January 22, 2021 at 2:04 am

    I knew Lynwood Athey while playing football at JSMA. I remember him as a man who took great pride in working with young men and teaching them without their knowing he was doing so. We learned discipline on the field that led to discipline off the field. Lynwood’s patience with instruction on how to play the game seemed not all that important at the time, but became more relevant as I grew older. Looking back, I learned that many things in life are team efforts and not individual achievements. More important, I learned to have trust in myself and to work within my abilities. With those items, I could have faith in my ability. Many of these lessons have stayed with me, and I am forever grateful that I had the privilege of knowing him as a coach and as a man. For all these lessons and experiences, I thank him.

  2. Ted Kane
    January 22, 2021 at 7:47 am

    So sorry for your loss. Condolences.

  3. Terry Ewell
    January 22, 2021 at 8:03 am

    Lynwood, was a wonderful man. He played a part in many children’s lives including my daughter, Ashley. Hugs and prayers to all.

  4. Linda LeHew-Smith
    January 22, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    He was one of the best. One of my favorite teachers. I know he will be missed and prayers for his family and all who loved him.

  5. Becky
    January 22, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Praying for comfort for the family.
    With Sympathy,
    Chaplain Becky Knight Pucher

  6. Sue Wright
    January 22, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Lynwood was my classmate, my friend, and my
    hero…for the way he lived his life. He will be greatly missed by everyone who ever crossed his path. My deepest sympathy to his wonderful loving family.

  7. Rick Souder
    January 22, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    Sorry for your lost prayers for your family

  8. Greg Vaught
    January 22, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    So sorry everyone for your loss. I love Lywood. I can’t remember ever getting pass him with not having conversation that I always enjoyed. He grew up with my mom and always asked how she doing. Prayers go out all family

  9. Bobby Beatty
    January 22, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    So Sorry for your loss. Linwood was great friend, farther and husband. So Sorry Prayers for family and friends !!!

  10. Mary-Margaret Histing
    January 22, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    I have fond childhood memories of your dad as a gentle giant. He was a very special human being and will be missed. Rest in glory, Mr. Athey <3

  11. Bobby Beatty
    January 22, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    So Sorry for your loss. Lywood was a great husband, father and friend. So Sorry Prayers for Family and Friends.

  12. Harold Wertz
    January 22, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Lynwood, and my brother John were legendary to me as we grew up together in the 40’s and 50’s in Visco City. They both were examples of best character for a man to become a good citizen and they did. Lynwood is as fresh in my mind 70 years later as if we were together yesterday and all my memories of him are the very best. He was always my example of some one I wanted to be like.

  13. Marti Jenkins
    January 22, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    Mr. Athey was a true gentleman, and that’s a rarity these days. I know he strolled through heavens gates, shaking hands and sharing hugs and laughs with those gone before. I know we’ll all meet again someday. When I get there I hope he has some new jokes for me! My love and prayers to all of you.

  14. Bill C Dodson and Family
    January 23, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    Clay and family, I’m sorry about your loss. If you guys need anything call me.

  15. Polly Williams Wiles
    January 23, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    Prayers for the comfort of all of the family. I haven’t seen Lynwood since he was a child coming to church with his mom and dad on Short and Cloud Streets. He sure came from a great family.

  16. Roseanne Barnett Mobley
    January 23, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    I knew Lynwood many years ago. I saw him occasionally over the years, and it was always a pleasure. He was always a kind good man. I am so happy for him his struggle with dementia was relatively brief. My condolences to his family.

  17. Chico, Kathy, & Hunter
    January 24, 2021 at 2:12 am

    Lori and family, we are so sorry for your loss. Our family has many fond memories of your dad from the kids playing ball together. We pray God’s love and His promise of everlasting life will provide you and your family with comfort in the days ahead. You and your family will remain in our prayers.

  18. Jeannette Stacey
    January 24, 2021 at 4:27 am

    So sorry for your loss. I only knew Linwood a short time. I enjoyed all his stories. Loved doing excerises with him. He was one heck of a man. Jeannette Stacey

  19. Sharon D Vaught
    January 24, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    Heartfelt sympathy for the entire family. What a legacy your father left on this world. I will continue to lift you in prayers.

  20. Dave Toothman
    January 25, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Lynwood was a classmate and a long time good friend. He will be truly missed. God Bless the family.

  21. Mary & Steve Davey
    January 25, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Clay,Kim, Mark & Lori…. we are so sorry to hear about Lynwood.’s passing. He will truly be missed by many. He has impacted a lot of people throughout his life. Wishing each and everyone of you comfort through this difficult time. Lean on God’s strength and he will help you through. We will be in prayer for all of you and the extended family and friends. I will always remember visiting you all when we were all younger and the family reunions. Mary (Clark) Davey & Steve

  22. mark e. stivers
    January 26, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Kim, Clay and extended family. I am sorry to learn of your loss. May the fond and eternal memories of your father that live on in the hearts of so many help sustain you and your family during this difficult time. With heartfelt sympathy and condolences. -mark

  23. Debbie Henry
    February 1, 2021 at 7:13 am

    I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Athey while working with the Warren Sentinel, we had great conversation, he was so pleasant..

    My prayers are with the family and friends of such a kind man.

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