Marietta McFarland Cleary



Sumter, SC ... The matriarch of the Cleary family has passed away. Marietta Cleary, age 87, beloved wife of 66 years to William Joseph Cleary Jr., went to meet the Father Monday morning. She passed gently in her sleep at home after having suffered a stroke on April 23.

Marietta was the firstborn child of the late John and Elleene McFarland of Rapid City, South Dakota. She was raised on a cattle ranch with her 4 siblings; twin Marianne Logan of Amarillo Texas (deceased), Marilyn Lemaster, Fred McFarland, and Loretta Hill, all of Rapid City, SD. When Marietta was 21 years young, she met and married a dapper young Airman, William Joseph Cleary, Jr of New York City. He swept her off her feet and they began a 30 year life in the military. When Bill was stationed overseas on 4 different occasions for a year or more, Marietta dealt with the daunting task of relocating and re-establishing the lives of herself and her 5 daughters. They lived in 9 different states and the Philippines. While raising her young brood, Marietta shared her love of music with all five of her daughters. They will break into song to this day with little provocation. From their earliest memories she would teach them songs from her youth, that she and the girls would perform for various civic groups and military affairs all dressed in homemade matching outfits. She was an accomplished secretary working for the base commander in Alaska to the OSI in the Philippines. In the 70's when her husband retired, she turned her talents to supporting St. Anne’s and other charitable work that she and Bill undertook for Habitat for Humanity and Tax Aid for senior citizens. She traveled the world first with her husband and the AF, and then through their national charity work. One of her most treasured memories was of the years that she traveled with her daughter and son-in-law in their motor home. They went to every state in the continental US and Canada twice. She loved to travel and see how others lived and loved. She was an active member of the Sumter community for 4 decades. Marietta was a member of the St. Anne's Parish for 47 years, and a devoted member of Ultreya. She enjoyed numerous bridge clubs, Newcomers, and being a lifetime member of the Black Hills Society of Pioneers. Marietta loved her husband and family more than anything else on earth. Bill and Marietta celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary August 26th, 2016 with many of their loved ones present. She was quick to smile, and if you could make her giggle your day would be made. Her greatest joy was spending time with her large and loving family.

Surviving in addition to her husband are: five daughters Colleen and Michael Spigner of Sumter and their daughter, Caroline (John) Ropp of Hartsville; Cathleen Cleary and John Clayton of Columbia and her children, Kelly(Daniel) McVey and Will Jordan; Carolan Hanson and her sons, Joseph and John (Kristall) Hanson; Corrine Cleary and Kim Wood of Monrovia California; Christine Cleary and Patti Rodman of Edmond Oklahoma and their children, Syd Leigh, Adam Smith, Rachel (Lisa) Smith-Hill, Shawn, Lindsey and Noah Langley; and honorary daughter, Deb and Bill Denkler of Minden, Nevada. She was predeceased by her parents, her twin sister and her grandchild, Michelle Spigner. She also leaves behind many loving memories of her 9 great grandchildren: Elizabeth, Johnny, David, Marietta Grace and Sarah Catherine Ropp; Connor and Bryce Hanson; Brody and Brianna McVey. Marietta will be remembered for her gentle nature, her lyrical laugh, and her loving family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to United Ministries, P.O. Box 1017, Sumter, SC 29151 or St. Anne’s Catholic Church, P.O. Box 1589 Sumter, SC 29151.

The family will receive friends at Bullock Funeral Home, 1190 Wilson Hall Drive in Sumter on Tuesday evening from 6 to 8pm, with the Rosary beginning at 5:45pm in the Bullock Funeral Home Chapel.

A memorial service for Marietta will be held in the chapel at Bullock Funeral Home on Wednesday at 3:30PM . There will also be a celebration of life ceremony held in Rapid City, South Dakota at a future date.

You may go to and sign the family’s guest book.

The family has chosen Bullock Funeral Home for the arrangements.