Andy Griffith portrayed the smart, loving and caring father who was an active and well-known member of his community on the beloved “Andy Griffith Show” which took place in the small town of Mayberry, North Carolina. If there ever was a real-life person with the characteristics of Andy Taylor, many Stokes County citizens would say look no further than King’s own Clyde Moorefield, who passed away suddenly on September 26 at the age of 76.
Moorefield’s daughter, Sonya Cox, read hundreds of comments on the City of King Facebook page honoring her father and said the posts gave her and her family peace and comfort knowing Moorefield impacted so many lives. One of the posts even commented that Moorefield was in fact King’s Andy Griffith, a statement Cox would agree with. “I see the correlation there,” says Cox. “I was in the same vein as that. It was calm. You could always count on him. He was a problem solver and always went the extra mile to help people. It wasn’t just about fixing cars, he fixed everything.”
Moorefield spent 56 years of his life working for and later owning and operating Moorefield’s Automotive and Towing, which was started by his father, J. Clyde, in 1945. After his father retired, Clyde Moorefield took over the family business. , even creating a third and fourth generation to carry on the legacy. Moorefield’s son, Brian, has worked at Moorefield’s Automotive and Towing for nearly 40 years, and Moorefield’s grandson, Jalon, also works there. “Four generations have been there and run it,” says Cox. “He couldn’t retire. We tried to get him to withdraw. He has been telling people for the last year and a half that he is semi-retired. He let my brother take over the business, but he still went out and changed oil, rotated tires, worked on cars, and helped diagnose problems.”
Jalon Moorefield credits his grandfather with instilling in him the discipline to be a great mechanic. “More and more, when I choose the person who inspired me the most, I go back to my grandfather,” says Jalon Moorefield. “Even as early as I can remember, he was teaching me the ins and outs, the ins and outs of being a mechanic. As I get older, a man, and then a spouse, and to this day, a father, lessons like that, you don’t forget. He pa he loved his family and he always put every individual he met first, whether he knew them for 50 years or he knew them seconds before. He was the most selfless man he had ever met and I strive and hope one day to be half the man that Clyde Moorefield was.”
People in the community turned to Clyde Moorefield for all kinds of problems and he was willing to help in any way he could. He opened his home to missionaries looking for temporary housing and even lent his beloved truck to a missionary who was in King on leave for a short time. “The guy let it roll in a pond,” Cox laughed. “He was always helping people.” Shade tree mechanics came to Moorefield for advice, and Moorefield was always there to give it to them. He would give people in the community the context they needed to solve problems on their own.
Known for his sense of humor, Moorefield liked to go on and argue with his fellow community members. He “would tell little kids, ‘Can I be your dad? Do you need another dad? Everybody called him Pa. He was giving little boys haircuts all the time,” recalls Cox. “And he’d come in and wipe his hands on a towel and say, ‘Well, I’m here to finish your haircut.’ Small children would be wide-eyed.” Moorefield’s granddaughter, Bretten Cox, summed up her father in an essay she wrote where she said: “…I really admire him because he has a great sense of humor and never falls short of making me laugh. When most people think of a grandpa, they might think of a boring old guy, but I like to think of my dad as a more fun and spontaneous guy. An example of that could be that he and my grandmother eloped when they were only 18 years old. The reason I like it so much is because it reminds me that even though he’s my grandfather, he was a kid too and made some pretty risky decisions, although this one turned out for the best.”
Moorefield married the love of his life, Donna, on April Fools’ Day 1964, when they were both still in high school. Moorefield graduated from North Forsyth High School in 1965. “Dad was supposed to go to South Stokes the year South opened,” Cox recalled. “But he was already married, so he went to North Forsyth because they offered half a day of school and half a day to go to work.” Donna Moorefield owns and operates King’s Cabin Salon and Day Spa next to Moorefield’s Automotive and Towing. Moorfield’s daughter, Sonya Cox, has run the salon with her mother for 36 years. “When you work alongside your parents and see them every day, sometimes you take that for granted.”
Clyde Moorefield was an active member of the Woodland Baptist Church. Without a doubt, his faith led him to be the community leader that he was. Moorefield was instrumental in building the Calvary Baptist Church off Spainhour Road in King, which has grown to become the Calvary Baptist Church on Main Street. Moorefield’s dedication to his faith leads him by example and has now helped create a space for the community to gather in worship.
Moorefield leaves his wife of 58 years; his daughter, Sonya Cox, and his son, Brian Moorefield; nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The loss of Clyde Moorefield is felt throughout the community and beyond. It has been said that the size of loss is the size of love. “There are so many people he impacted,” says Cox. “I think the bigger the personality, the bigger the hole they leave behind.”