The Reverend Sylvester McClearn

The Reverend Sylvester McClearn


The Reverend Sylvester McClearn entered the church triumphant on July 3, 2013. Reverend McClearn was born in Smithfield, NC on July 15, 1937. He was one of fourteen children born to Mr. and Mrs. Randolph McClearn. In 1957, he met, fell in love with and married his beautiful wife, Billie Marie. He and Billie Marie McClearn are the proud parents of six great kids and ten grandchildren. Reverend McClearn is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary and also studied psychology at Empire State College of NY.

Reverend McClearn served First Newburgh UMC from 1984 until his retirement in 2002. After retirement he continued to serve First Newburgh UMC until 2006.

Sylvester was very deeply committed to the youth and families of Newburgh, NY. He and Billie Marie owned and operated a clothing business, ice cream store and restaurant. In 1974, they were recognized in Black Enterprise Magazine as up and coming entrepreneurs in the United States. They formed and sponsored two basketball teams and two softball teams.

One of Rev. McClearn's favorite songs was "May the work I've done speak for me." He was an active participant in the civil rights movement, a community leader and led many humanitarian causes in and around Newburgh. Sylvester received numerous awards for his love and dedication to our community: The Newburgh Distinguished Citizens Award, The Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award, The Most Deserving Black Award, The Human Rights Commission Award, Founders Certificate of Appreciation for Project Life, The Most Prestigious Black Award, Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, The Coalition for People's Rights Appreciation Award, The City of Newburgh Certificate of Appreciation, African American History Committee Award, Orange County Distinguished Services Award, Black Ministerial Fellowship Presidential Award of Excellence, Newburgh Drug and Alcohol Extraordinary Service Award, and many, many more.

Reverend Sylvester McClearn is survived by his wife of 55 years, Mrs. Billie Marie McClearn; five children: Richard McClearn and wife Donzella, Michael McClearn and wife Kate, Darnell McClearn and wife Kathy, Alex McClearn and wife Andrea, Jeanie McClearn-Little and her husband Otis; one deceased son, Cathell McClearn; ten grandchildren: Michelle, Tianna, Marcus, Nyimah, Alison, Miles, Kendall, Jordan, Iman and Aisha; two brothers: Roosevelt McClearn and Jesse McClearn and his wife Linda, and two sisters: Alice Spriggs and Gertha Green; six Godchildren: D'otta, Melissa, Antoinette, Patrice, Charlene, Lawrence, Mike and Thomas Earl; along with a long list of nieces and nephews to which he was affectionately known as Uncle Buddy.

Reverend McClearn will lie in repose from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 10th at First United Methodist Church, 245 Liberty Street, Newburgh, NY. A celebration of Life Services will commence at 11 a.m. at the church. Elder Eugene Jones will officiate. Interment will be at Woodlawn Cemetery, New Windsor, NY.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Project L.I.F.E. family shelter by mail: Project L.I.F.E.  In memory of Sylvester McClearn, 172 First St., Newburgh, NY 12550 or