Clifton A. Stanton Jr.'s first love was singing gospel music but he was equally adept at making people laugh, friends said.
"I guess everything he did made others happy and that's why he was so good at singing and laughing," said Chantelle Gordon, a longtime friend. "He knew how to brighten the spirits of everybody he ever knew."
Mr. Stanton, a lifelong Baltimore resident, died of cancer Saturday at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He was 36.
Mr. Stanton, who began singing when he was about 9, had a rich baritone voice that often moved audiences to tears.
"He just seemed to put so much emotion and feeling into the words of the songs that everyone was just taken and absorbed his songs," Ms. Gordon said. "He truly enjoyed singing the gospel and everyone enjoyed his singing."
"His singing was just a gift that God gave to him," said his father, Clifton A. Stanton Sr. of Baltimore. "He started as a high tenor but later in life he was a baritone and that suited him well."
His favorite gospel songs were "I Won't Complain," "Hold To His Hand," and "Crimson Stream."
Mr. Stanton had a collection of gospel records that he'd sing along with at his West Baltimore home then later sing for friends. He was a member of the Church of the Redeemed of the Lord at 4617 York Road and also sang at other churches, including ones in Frederick, Hagerstown and New York City. He accompanied himself on piano and preached.
"He enjoyed singing but he also was interested in the ministry of the word," said his pastor, the Rev. Jerome Stokes.
Mr. Stanton, who graduated from Frederick Douglass High School, was manager of a downtown fast food restaurant for the past seven years.
Kevin Jenkins, a co-worker, said Mr. Stanton often would sing hymns while cooking hamburgers.
"It was one of neatest things. I'd be fixing an order and all of a sudden I'd hear his voice singing about the Lord," Mr. Jenkins recalled. "Everybody in the restaurant, including the people in line, would be smiling listening to him sing."
Services for Mr. Stanton will be at 11 a.m. today at the Church of the Redeemed of the Lord.
Mr. Stanton, who was divorced, also is survived by his mother, Myrtle Pope of Baltimore; a brother, Rafael Taylor of Baltimore; and a sister, Susan Y. Stanton of Philadelphia.
Pub Date: 3/14/97