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Clifford Caruthers loved baseball, books and cats

Monday, September 24, 2012 | 7:42 p.m. CDT; updated 7:47 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 24, 2012

COLUMBIA — Clifford Caruthers was a big Cardinals fan and a lover of animals. 

"My favorite scene is him sitting in his easy chair, watching the Cardinals game and holding his cats," his sister Carol Green said. 

Clifford Mack Caruthers of Columbia died Monday, Aug. 27, 2o12, in his home. He was 76. 

Mr. Caruthers was born on Dec. 19, 1935, in Saffordville, Kan., to Clifford and Anna (Bridges) Caruthers. When he was 6, the family relocated to Purdy, where they lived on a farm. 

As a child, Mr. Caruthers would ride his bike two miles to and from school. On his way he would pass an area where people were known to dump kittens. So he would often bring home a burlap sack of kittens, Green said. 

"Our mother eventually said, 'Do not bring anymore home!' but that didn't stop him."

Cynthia Newenhouse, Mr. Caruthers' daughter, said her father was always a big supporter of people's and animals' rights. 

After graduating from Purdy High School in 1953, Mr. Caruthers attended MU, where he played baseball until suffering a career-ending knee injury.

He earned his bachelor's in English from MU, went on to receive his master's in English from the University of Kansas and later returned to MU to receive his Ph.D. During this time, Mr. Caruthers edited three volumes of correspondence of sports columnist and author Ring Lardner, including "Ring Around Max," "Letters from Ring" and "The Letters of Ring Lardner." 

Mr. Caruthers started off his career teaching literature at Lathrop High School. He also taught at Northern Illinois University, Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, MU, William Woods University, St. Bede Academy in Illinois, and Garden City High School and Shawnee Mission High School in Kansas. He also worked as a technical writer for 20 years, mainly for Argonne National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy in Grand Junction, Colo. 

Later in his life, Mr. Caruthers established his own press, Marmot Press. He published a book of poems, a book about "The Woodstock Avalanche" and other booklets about Colorado, specifically Pitkin Co., a place he often visited.

Mr. Caruthers' love for baseball stayed with him throughout his life. He served as a baseball coach at Kishwaukee College, Garden City High School and St. Bede Academy and privately coached his children and grandchildren. 

Newenhouse said many people considered him to be the best coach they ever had because of the emphasis he put on critiquing performance. 

"It didn't matter how well you did; he always thought you could improve," she said.

But baseball wasn't his only hobby. Mr. Caruthers was a private pilot and part-owner of a Piper Cherokee and also had a love for horses. 

"We always had horses," Newenhouse said. "I've been riding before I could walk." 

Newenhouse and her siblings grew up riding and competing. It wasn't until they were all grown up, she said, that her father started to compete himself.

"It was funny because I could watch him and critique him now." Newenhouse said. 

Mr. Caruthers is survived by three children from his marriage to Donna Boin: Catherine McCray of Bolivar, Cynthia Newenhouse of Garden City and Clifford Boin Caruthers of Oakland, Calif.; two grandchildren, Ethan McCray and Aaron McCray; three sisters, Carol Green of Columbia, Karen Carter of Warrensburg and Sharon Miller of Ballwin.  

Mr. Caruthers was buried with his wife of 16 years, Linda Caruthers, at Evergreen Cemetery in Louisville, Ky., on Sept. 4, 2012. 

Memorial contributions can be made to the Clifford Maurice and Anna Marie Caruthers Memorial Fund (MU, Office of Development, Attn: Donor Relations, 306 Reynolds Alumni Center, Columbia, MO 65211) or the Linda Stolz Caruthers and Clifford Mack Caruthers Scholarship Fund (Kishwaukee College, Attn: Marshall Hayes, 21139 Malta Road, Malta, IL 60150). 

Tributes can be posted at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com

Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu.


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