On Saturday, December 3, 1938, Clifton Singletary and Althea Hayes Singletary welcomed their baby boy, Cornelius Henderson Singletary into the world. Little Cornelius grew up in the home with his mom, bonus father Henry Franklin and his three sisters in Van Vleck, Texas. There was so much love for him that they all had to agree that he was spoiled. Although they spoiled him, he was very protective of them as well as the ladies in his life!
Cornelius became affectionately known as C.H. He was a proud member of the O. H. Herman Class of 1959. He loved sharing stories about his days with the Steers. Even at 84, he told how he ran over many players with much enthusiasm. His love for sports was seen throughout his life as he continually supported his community at the high school football games. He also enjoyed teaching his nephews his football strategies, moves and plays that he enjoyed when he was a running back.
C. H. was a great provider for his family. He was a carpenter by trade. This passion started in his young life as his father instilled in him his carpentry skills that he also passed down to his sons, nephews, and many of the young men in the neighborhood. He was well known throughout the county because of his kindness and his abilities. He not only helped to build one of the banks in Bay City, the first elementary school in Van Vleck, a Baptist church in Palacios, but he also would work on small projects for people in the community. Later in life when he could no longer do the physical labor, he would take pride in supervising others who could do the manual labor.
C. H. was one who never met a stranger. It was commonplace for someone to come to his house to visit and he would jump in their car and ride off with them if he knew them or not. He was one to help others, from his family, to his neighbors, or strangers who needed his help, he was just that kind of guy.
Cornelius Henderson and Rosie Marie Singletary were united in holy matrimony on December 24, 2001. He loved his family, friends, church members and those in the community. C.H. was a member of St. John Missionary Baptist Church. He had a gifted voice and enjoyed gospel singers such as Bishop G. E. Patterson. Although he did not sing publicly, the family enjoyed him singing casually to them.
There are so many great memories. Those memories include his great storytelling. No matter how many times he would tell the story and no matter how many times we would hear it told, it would be just as funny as it was the first time he shared it. Memories also include him dressing up as Santa Claus each year for the family and for the church; he really had us fooled. We remember him being a gentle giant who would threaten the kids with the “tippy-toe belt” when they got out of line. We recall how he loved going fishing as well as planting gardens that grew some of the best egg plants, corn, and most of all his prized sweet potatoes. We will miss just getting in the car and riding around with him reminiscing over old times. There is no way we can forget his green truck that leaned to one side that he used to get from job to job, nor can we forget the look on his face when he came outside his sister’s house and noticed his truck was gone and thought it was stolen only to find out that his sister got in the truck and drove it back to his house. Yeah, he learned to take her serious when she told him not to block her driveway. It warms our hearts when we reminisce on the great turn-out for his birthday parade during COVID where the police and fire truck lead the line with many families, friends, community and church members participating. Wow, what great times… what precious memories.
On Friday, March 17, 2023, CH’s last construction job was completed and he moved from his earthly home to the home that was prepared for him that was not made by man’s hands. Those who will cherish these and many other precious memories include his wife, Rosie Marie Singletary; children: Johnny Singletary, Tommy (Tiffany) Singletary Sr., Amey Singletary, Kenneth (Alzenia) Grice, and Eddie (Nancy) Grice; grandchildren: Cornelius Singletary, Sr., Tommy Singletary, Jr., Markisha Wheeler, Kalvin Singletary, Joshua Singletary, Jazz Singletary, Diamond Grice, Ashley Grice, Ahmad Johnson and Ayanna Grice; great-grandchildren: Cornelius Singletary, Jr., Keith Singletary, Jerious Singletary, and Amiyah Grice; nieces: Bonnie Brown, Teresa (Bernard) Ford, Susan (Calvin) Ayres, and Paula (Ben) Grice; nephews: Clarence Brown, Jr., Freddie (Lisa) Allen, Jr., and Donald Brown, Sr., and a multitude of great-great-great nieces and nephews, extended family, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, along with his son, Keith Grice; sisters: Willie Lee Brown, Bonnie Faye Porter, and Amey Mae Coulter; brothers, Moses, Sam, Donald, and Tom Wilkerson; aunt: Addie McNeil; mother-in-law: Carrie Mae Richardson; nephew: Travis Singletary; and great-great nephew: D’Korian Ford, Jr.
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