Cletus Orlando Brown was born on November 17, 1929 in Monroe, Michigan. He was one of eight children born to the union of Claude and Arlette (Leach) Brown Jr.. Cletus attended school in Tennessee until his sophomore year when he dropped out to enlist in the United States Army only to be told he was too young to serve his country. At the age of seventeen he set out in search of work. His first of many jobs was working in the coal mines in Tennessee. Cletus then worked for DTI Railroad, Consolidated Paper, Mason Springs in Toledo, Ohio and even tried the construction field, but it wasn’t until he returned to Michigan in 1965 where he was employed as a laborer for the Ford Motor Company, and a proud member of the UAW Local 723, that he found his place. He worked at Ford for more than thirty years before his retirement in 1995.

On St. Patrick’s Day 1948 in Tennessee, Cletus married his childhood friend, the former Loretta May and together the couple was blessed with a son: Clyde. Cletus and Loretta enjoyed over sixty years of happiness until Loretta’s passing in 2008 at the age of 77 years old.

Cletus was a member of the Monroe Lodge #27 F. & A.M. for fifty plus years, member of the Stewart Road Church of God, and the Union Street Missionary Baptist Church. He was a very outgoing, never meeting someone he couldn’t talk to. He had the ability to strike up a conversation with a total stranger.

Cletus loved to hunt, rifle and bow, fish, and camp. He was a wonderful father often taking the time to teach his son how to hunt, fish, and even operate heavy equipment machinery at a very young age. Cletus and Clyde were inseparable, enjoying many trips up north to Alcona County Park near the Au Sable River where the pair often hunted deer or cast a line hoping to catch a Northern Pike, one of Cletus’s favorite fish to reel in. The duo took fishing trips to North Bay and White River, both in Canada or spent many afternoons locally on Lake Erie.

Cletus enjoyed gardening and was very attentive to his various fruit trees, grape vines, and vegetables. He enjoyed canning his freshly grown produce with his grandchildren and teaching them how to prepare homemade vegetable soup and jellies. He was an avid John Wayne fan and loved watching all of his movies. People often thought Cletus resembled John Wayne during his earlier years.

Cletus Orlando Brown, age 94 of Monroe, Michigan passed away on Sunday; February 18, 2024, at Fountainview of Monroe under the care of Beacon Hospice. His passing was preceded by his parents: Claude and Arlette Brown Jr; his loving wife of sixty years: Lorretta Brown; five sisters: Sally, Bonnie, Oneida, Barbara, and Juanita; and two brothers: Charles and Claude Jr.

To cherish Cletus’s memory, he leaves behind his son: Clyde (Debbie) Brown of Monroe, Michigan; three grandchildren: Christopher (Shannon) Brown, Heather (Luna) Jaskowiak, and Natalie (Scottie) Bohrer; four great grandchildren: Colin, Meaghan, Conor, and Emma; and one grand “dog”; Joe.

Friends may gather from 2:00 pm until 8:00 pm on Sunday; February 25, 2024, at Cross-Smith Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 am on Monday; February 26, 2024, at Cross-Smith Funeral Home with Pastor Orville Petrey officiating. Procession will follow to Leach Family Cemetery in Speedwell, Tennessee for burial.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Cletus’s memory are suggested to the Oaks of Righteousness Christian Ministries Center in Monroe, Michigan or to the charity of the donor’s choice. Online guest may leave words of inspiration and comfort or share a photo by visiting

Arrangements by Cross-Smith Funeral Home

Condolences may be given online at