Jeffrey Dean McClure, dear husband of Nancy Clark McClure and beloved dad of Allison Suzanne McClure, died peacefully at home from pancreatic cancer with Nancy and Allison by his side on April 3, 2023. He gave explicit instruction that his illness was not to be referred to as a “battle” or “fight.” He would tell you that he had bad luck when dealt this card in life, but he handled this bad luck with grace, faith, and his trademark humor.
Jeff, who was born in Baltimore, MD, on March 29, 1956, was reunited in heaven with his parents, John and Ida Mae (Schaener) McClure, and Nancy’s parents, Tom and Betty Clark, whom he loved as his own. Nancy, Allison, and his beloved dog, Miss Muffet, are left to honor his memory on this earth for the rest of their lives. Jeff also leaves behind a sister, Gwen Blackshire, and husband, Chris, of Raleigh, NC; brother, Wally McClure, and wife, Barb, of Hagerstown, MD; and, brother, Craig McClure, and husband, Steve Orechowski, of Chicago, IL. Jeff loved his siblings and keeping in touch with them, especially during his illness.
Surviving in-laws include Linda and Denny Van Horn of Florida, Martha Clark and Dave Compton of Clarksburg, and Jan and Tom Sullivan of Clarksburg, as well as Nancy’s aunts, uncles, and cousins. Jeff’s nieces and nephews include Chad (Becky) Ford, Susan (Mike) Headley, Colonel Nathan (Natasha) McClure, Brian McClure, Melody McClure, Ryan Sullivan, and Andrew (Lacey) Sullivan. Jeff also has nine great-nephews and one great-niece: Wylie (Devony) Ford, Wyatt (Cassie) Ford, Michael Headley (Samantha Sullivan), Tyler Headley, Damian McClure, Zane McClure, Ian McClure, TJ McClure, Gaige McClure, and Nova Sullivan. Jeff’s family all appreciated his dry humor and knowledge of just about everything (his Sullivan nephews thought “Uncle Geff” was the smartest man in the world after their grandpa, Tom Clark).
Jeff grew up primarily in Patterson Creek, WV, where he learned to become the nature lover and outdoorsman he was. As a boy, he fished in the warmer months and trapped throughout the winter while raising pigs and doing his chores on the family’s property – he had quite a few scars on his hands from sharp objects to prove it! Jeff was happiest when he could be either with family or by himself anywhere in nature: fishing his beloved WV streams; walking, gardening on, and working on his acreage; birdwatching on the local lakes and beyond; and, even making maple syrup from his property’s trees. When Jeff wasn’t fly fishing, he was tying flies to be ready for his next outing, kayaking to look for fish and other wildlife, or riding his bicycle along his favorite country roads. In his younger years he was known to keep bicycle parts on his bed and went on extended cycling trips with his dad; he even participated in “PALM,” Peddle Across Lower Michigan. Jeff was known to save snakes and turtles along his way and to clean up any litter that marred the beauty of our green earth. Jeff was a huge recycler of everything and taught Nancy to do the same (he was still working on Allison). Jeff was an avid birder, and he and Nancy enjoyed birding trips to Delaware, the Eastern Shore, and Nebraska, especially during the migration seasons.
Jeff loved his Patterson Creek roots and reconnecting on Facebook with his classmates and friends from Fort Ashby High School, from which he graduated in 1974 and where he played basketball and enjoyed a brief stint in theatre. Jeff went on to West Virginia University where he earned dual degrees in geology and biology, using both degrees in his career as a geologist, which began in the oil and gas industry before he took his expertise to the WV Department of Environmental Protection and later, the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. He retired from the NRCS on January 31, 2021.
Jeff and Nancy had a true “meet cute.” In 1977, Nancy responded to an ad Jeff placed in the newspaper to sell his bed. Nancy bought the bed from him for $10 – a steal considering it was a beautiful, solid-iron bed. Neither knew then that they were meeting the love of their life and would still have the bed – and the check, kept by Jeff as a memento – 46 years later. Jeff and Nancy were married on August 12, 1978, and celebrated with a reception at Nancy’s parents’ home at Maple Lake, which remained a favorite spot of theirs. Jeff was a devoted husband to his “Sweetie Pie,” and he and Nancy enjoyed many adventures together both near and far, sometimes with a dog (or three) in tow. Nancy, ever-devoted to Jeff, even took up fly fishing to share in Jeff’s hobby!
Jeff and Nancy were ecstatic at their daughter’s arrival; Jeff was ahead of his time as a baby caregiver and excelled at being a “girl dad” long before it was trendy. He got Allison up and out the door for school in the mornings (no small task); took her to ballet and gymnastics classes; worked on soccer skills with her; and, watched many at-home RCB Danceline practices and post-shopping-trip “fashion shows.” They enjoyed their evening math sessions when Allison was in grade school and junior high, even when there was some gnashing of teeth (now a family chuckle). The two of them had a great deal of mutual respect for one another; even though Jeff could not convince her to love camping or fishing, they did share a love of cooking and, more recently, gardening. They have matched wits since Allison was a child; she is the spitting image of him in many ways. Allison will adamantly tell you that Jeff was the best dad a girl could have and the best grandpa to her high-maintenance cats, dosing insulin and seizure medication to a very difficult feline patient and gaining favor via midday kitty snacks.
Jeff, Nancy, and Allison enjoyed traveling together, taking many Pittsburgh and West Virginia day trips and an annual trip, planned by Jeff, to the Lewisburg Chocolate Festival, stopping on the way home for a nice meal at a local eatery. They took an unforgettable vacation to Palm Springs, CA, in 2019 and had been looking forward to their next big family vacation, an Alaskan cruise, planned for the Summer of 2023.
We are thankful for the skilled and compassionate treatment provided by Jeff’s care team: oncologist, Midhun Malla, M.D.; oncology clinical pharmacy specialist, Crystal Heise; palliative care doctor, Emma Somers, M.D.; hospitalists, Lindsay Kasson, D.O., and John Guido, M.D.; very special nurses, Carolyn and Lamont; John Elko, pharmacist at Lost Creek’s Village Pharmacy; and, his hospice team, Dana, Adam, Tina, Beth, Lizzy, Jenny, Devony, and Todd. He enjoyed chatting with his care team, including the many bright WVU students who cared for him, to learn about their lives, tell them about his, and amuse them with his dry wit and sarcasm (clearly a theme throughout this tribute). He seemed to delight in the role of the “crotchety old man” patient and played the role well, but only for fun.
True to Jeff’s very nature, he has donated his body to further education and research through the West Virginia Anatomical Board Human Gift Registry until he is returned to his family as ashes, which will be scattered across the WV streams and forests he loved. If you are so inclined, Jeff requests that you make donations to the National Audubon Society (audubon.org), the Arbor Day Foundation (arborday.org), or the West Virginia Land Trust (wvlandtrust.org). Or, if you would prefer, just remember him the next time you take a nature walk, see a bird, smell a flower, eat a wonderful meal, or run into someone who has a dry sense of humor. He will be in all of those for Allison and Nancy, who will miss him endlessly.
Condolences and memories of Jeff that you wish to share with the family may be e-mailed to email@example.com. Cards will also be available at the funeral home for those who wish to handwrite the condolences and memories of Jeff.
Family and friends will be received at Ford Funeral Home, 215 E. Main Street, Bridgeport, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, 2023, with the funeral service immediately following at 3:00 p.m., with Reverend Paula Flint, lifelong friend of Nancy, presiding.