A man’s life comes with its series of challenges, endeavors, and victories. While some of these challenges could be as minor as remembering a birthday or a bill to pay, some worthy men rise to greater and higher calls—finding love, raising a family, or maybe rising up to serve one’s country. Despite all the ranks and titles that a man can conqueror, Staff Sergeant Clarence Ray Vanzandt held two titles most dear: husband and father. He strove to love his beloved wife with all of his heart, and he guided his children with the love only an amazing father can give. Clarence achieved many great feats and victories that impacted so many of those around him and beyond, and for his amazing life and serving heart, he will always be remembered.
On Tuesday, April 26, 1988, a little boy came into this world to his parents, Regina Murray and Julius Vanzandt, in Redwood City, California. His family eventually moved to Louisiana where he began going to middle school in Bossier City, Louisiana. This move not only took Clarence to a different state, but it also started one of the most fulfilling missions he had in his life—to marry Cinthya Marisol Mayorga. It all started in his 7th grade year where he met Cinthya who was in 8th grade. Clarence entered into a hoola hoop competition where he wowed the crowd and definitely got noticed by Cinthya. A few comments and a few laughs resulted in him telling her “I love you,” as he signed her yearbook at the end of the year. As she progressed to high school while he had to finish his last year of middle school, Cinthya stayed in Clarence’s mind. When the year was finally done, and he moved up to high school, he began to ride the bus with Cinthya. Like any high school romance, it all started with a “hey.” Every day on the bus he would tell her “hey” and follow it with a poke…repeatedly. It irritated Cinthya to no end, but once she saw that Clarence was dating another girl, jealousy began to irritate Cinthya even more. Eventually later on that year, he and the other girl broke up, and he began to make his plans to win Cinthya’s heart. One day when they were in the library together, Clarence stood up to see Cinthya on the other side of the computer. He noticed she had a Airline t-shirt on and looked for her for several weeks. He found her talking with a mutual friend. He told the friend to give her a note. It was a simple note asking her to go out with him. She rejected his advances at first, but after a rather long and awkward phone call later, Clarence got the nerve to ask her out again. This time she responded “yes,” but her mother (his future mother-in-law) added a condition that their first date had to be a double date. On the second date, as Clarence was a freshman and Cinthya was a sophomore, Clarence asked Cinthya to be his girlfriend. The two high school sweethearts stayed inseparable all throughout their time in school. To pay for dates and to make life better for himself, Clarence worked two jobs at Sonic and Moe’s. He was always hard working and taking his work ethic to the next level. Cinthya’s brother, Roger Mayorga, became good friends with Clarence and saw his internal drive to succeed. Roger, who had joined the Marines, told Clarence that the Marine Corps would be a great fit and benefit to Clarence. With that, Clarence joined the Marine Corps and excelled in everything he was tasked to do. Although his training took Clarence away to North Carolina and far from Cinthya, they stayed in touch through phone calls. A year prior, Clarence made a sweet videos of pictures, Clarence dropped down on one knee and asked Cinthya to marry him. At first Cinthya thought he was joking with her. It was only when Clarence looked down-hearted and sad that she realized her fun-loving boyfriend was actually being serious. While on at Admin school, Clarence asked Cinthya if she wanted to marry him. He told her that he would marry her right that day if he could. With that, Cinthya drove from Louisiana to North Carolina in a single day to marry her soulmate. She arrived dressed up for their wedding and was slightly shocked to see Clarence in shorts and tennis shoes, but true love has no rules. They married right there that day, June 1, 2010, with two of Clarence’s friends to witness the intimate ceremony. Despite Cinthya being nervous and stating, “I do, I do, I do” all throughout the ceremony, it was the beginning of a beautiful and wonderful marriage.
Clarence tackled the job of being a husband with love, determination, and a desire to make life wonderful for him and his new wife. Throughout their marriage, he was deployed three times: the first deployment on the MEU, USS Green Bay and the second to Afghanistan. After a few years of marriage, he and his wife took on their next adventure—parenthood. As any new parent can tell you, bringing in a new baby into the world comes with its own fear, excitement, and nervousness. It was no less true, even for a talented Marine like Clarence. But as Cinthya and Clarence welcomed their little son, Javian Ray, into the world, both of them knew they could love this little one and take on anything that could come their way. As actor Mike Myers stated, “Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it.” Clarence loved being a father to little Javian, and his joy doubled when his little daughter, Mia Angelena, was placed in his arms for the first time. He and Cinthya led their children as a team, and the children flourished under their father’s love. Clarence often rough-housed and tickled Javian and his nephews as the boys would laugh and try to jump on Clarence. Of course, Clarence would then chase them around as the boys screamed with delight. It would only end when the boys were tired or when Clarence got them too wound up. Even for being a Marine and giving orders to his subordinates, there was always one person with one demand that Clarence always obeyed. No matter what the circumstances or time of day, if his little Mia created an imaginary little dish or drink for her Daddy to try, by goodness he tried it, every single time. Mia had her father wrapped around her little finger, and Clarence was happy to stay there. During his time at home, Clarence would take his family on little trips down to the beach. They all had such a great time playing in the water and in the sand. Other times, Clarence would teach his children how to play basketball or how to fish. He showed them and shared with them so many of his passions, but his family was always Clarence’s greatest passion. To the joy of his family, Clarence became a recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corps and began to spend more time at home. Clarence was delighted when he found out that he and Cinthya were again expecting another little baby to come into their happy and joyful family. This was his little baby, and he loved his little miracle so much. He will continue to give his love and guidance to Cinthya, Javian, Mia, and expectant baby forever and will always be in their hearts.
Clarence lived a very full life full of laughter, love, and his desire to catch the “big one.” He was always fishing whether it was salt water, fresh water, ponds, lakes, or even the piers off of Galveston. He enjoyed the peace that comes with fishing as well as the excitement when a fish finally takes the bait. Clarence enjoyed going for rides on his red motorcycle and feeling the wind flying by him on the roads. With both fishing and riding his motorcycle, a sense of freedom and a love for life flowed through him. He liked animals and dogs, especially pit bulls and French bulldogs. Clarence liked all sorts of food like Chinese takeout, crawfish, and Po’ Boys. For the longest time, Clarence hated water and would drink just about anything but water. Once he began bootcamp, though, he learned to like and really appreciate water. Later in life, when he wasn’t drinking water, he liked Sprite, Pineapple Fanta, and Tiki Punch. Clarence like various sports, but basketball was always his favorite. He was a natural athlete and loved to be competitive. When he watched football, he cheered for the Oakland Raiders, and his favorite college football team was the Texas Longhorns. Clarence was very passionate about his country and those he served with in the Marine Corps. However, his passion also extended to those outside of his country. Any time he saw that justice and liberty was not being practiced or innocent people were being hurt or persecuted, he was filled with a desire to help and to serve. His aspiration to help any that were in need lead to him impacting so many lives nationally and internationally. His kind heart touched so many. His service to his country and humanity will never be forgotten.
To the sorrow of his family and friends, Clarence passed away suddenly in Garland, Texas after being involved in a motorcycle accident. His sudden loss has shocked and grieved all that have known him, especially those closest to him. Clarence Ray Vanzandt is survived by his soulmate and loving wife of 8 years, Cinthya Marisol Vanzandt; his beloved children, Javian Ray Vanzandt, Mia Angelena Vanzandt, and his expectant baby; his mother, Regina Murray Williams and her fiancé, Byron Allen; his father, Julius Ray Vanzandt; his sister, Latynia Vanzandt and her fiancé, Kelly Burnham; his half-sister, Raytavia Vanzandt; his brother-in-law, Roger Mayorga, son JC Mayorga, and his wife, Silvia; his mother-in-law, Angela C Rodas, and her fiancé, Jorge Munez; his father-in-law, Rigoberto V. Mayorga; his maternal grandmother, Barbara Jennings; his maternal grandfather and grandmother, Willie and Carole Murray; his paternal grandfather, Julius Vanzandt; his nephews, Jeremiah Johnson, Isaiah Burningham, and J.C. Mayorga; his niece, Jordan Vanzandt; and many friends, extended family, and brothers in the Marine Corps. Clarence Ray Vanzandt is preceded in death by his paternal grandmother, Jenny R. Vanzandt, and his great-grandmother, Lavada Murray.
The life of Clarence Ray Vanzandt will be honored on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at Northplace Church, located at 2800 Pleasant Valley Rd., Sachse, Texas 75048. A visitation will take place on this day from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. The funeral service of Clarence Vanzandt will take place immediately following the visitation from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. SSgt Clarence Ray Vanzandt will be laid to rest at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:15 PM. Pallbearers to serve SSgt Clarence Vanzandt are Jeremiah Johnson, Roger Mayorga, SSgt Mark Salazar, SSgt Kevin Messex, SSgt Michael Hucks, and Randall Giard. Honorary Pallbearers are Javian Ray Vanzandt, MGySgt Elijah Colclough, GySgt Ryan Wood, and David McCombie-Murray.
In the words of American actor Jason Momoa, “I want to be remembered as, I hope, an amazing husband, and a great father.” Clarence Ray Vanzandt, a devoted husband and a loving father, will be remembered and cherished by all for his love for his family and for so much more.