|God in his infinite wisdom placed Cleveland on this earth on October 20, 1925, in New Orleans. On March 27, 1949 Cleve entered into a blessed relationship with his faithful wife, Earline LeBlanc. He was blessed with his daughters Stephanie Miller and Lisa Berg. And once more with his grandchildren, Samantha Miller, Casimir Miller, Aaron Berg, Annica Berg, Maggie Berg and Isaiah Berg.
In speaking for the family, it was Lisa who said, “Daddy gave us a glimpse of our God who loved us so completely.” Those who knew Cleve understand the meaning of her words, for he epitomized John Wesley’s concept of “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” Cleve always had a pleasant smile on his face and kind words on his lips. Through these attributes, he touched the lives of many.
Prior to entering the ministry, Cleve worked for the U.S. Navy in Algiers, Louisiana. He was a graduate of Tulane University and Baptist Seminary in New Orleans. He loved the United Methodist Church and its people, and was God’s faithful servant through his appointments to the Sun, Bush, Second (New Orleans), Jefferson and Gentily churches. Cleve affectionately talked of his role in the short-lived life of Christ Church in Waggaman, Louisiana.
Cleve loved all of his people with a sincere devotion. A quiet and happy man in his Christian endeavors, he gave completely of himself. In his final days in this temporal life, he talked of all that he loved, his Lord, his wife, his family and his friends in Christ. His love for others brought one church to say, upon his accepting another appointment, “Once upon a time love came…to us.”
During his last weeks, Cleve expressed his concern for having been unable to help me more. Even though his health declined rapidly, he was a witness to all. It was this quality, even in his declining health, that allows others to say, “they have seen a reflection of Christ in Cleve.”
On April 7, 1998, God called his honest and faithful servant Cleve to the “Mansion with many rooms.” It was Cleve's expressed desire to have his Service of Celebration in the Gretna United Methodist Church. To that end we celebrated his life on Good Friday, April 10, 1998.
Cleve’s daughter is correct. What could I possibly say that would add more meaning to what she said, “Daddy gave us a glimpse of God who loved us so completely.”
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 1998, p. 249 By Rev. Rev. Lewis L. (Jake) Olmsted|