- Faith & Family
CLEOPHUS ORANGE (Cleo) was born on September 17, 1938 on a small turpentine settlement called Sappville in Ware County, Georgia to the late Mr. Cleophus Clifford Orange, a man of great strength, determination, and perseverance, and the late Eva Lou Barnum-Orange, a woman of great faith and fortitude.
At an early age, Cleophus and his family migrated to Overtown and then to the Allapattah area of Miami, Florida where Cleophus was raised and received his formal education. In 1955 at age 17, Cleophus put his age up by one year and joined the United States Navy, became a seaman and sailed the great oceans of the world.
Upon his return from the navy with a honorable discharge, life took a turn, and in 1960 he was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment and ultimately served 14 years of that sentence, 10 years was served in solitary confinement in a 10×6 concrete cubicle. He was called everything from an agitator, troublemaker, and jail house lawyer by prison officials. His fellow inmates recognized him as a mediator, a negotiator, and an exponent of self help prison rehabilitative programs. In 1974, Cleophus was paroled and pardoned.
It is often a debatable observation that “In the best of us there is some bad, and in the worst of us there is some good.” Cleophus proved this by continuing his work in social services. He also served on the South Florida State Governor’s Commission on crime and criminal justice. He went on to earn an Associate, a Bachelor, and a Masters degree in Criminal Justice.
In 1979, Cleophus founded and became Executive Director of Project S.T.O.P.P.P (Successful Transformation of Potentially Productive Persons). Project S.T.O.P.P.P was a social service program designed to help at-risk, socially and economically disadvantage youths from a life of crime and violence. He received numerous awards, accolades of achievement, and certificates of recognition from various governmental entities, public officials and private individuals and organizations. During Project S.T.O.P.P.P’s 30 years of operation, the program received millions of dollars in government funding.
In June 1982, he met and fell in love and married the love of his life Sonia Munroe, without whose 30 years of day to day love, support, and unquestionable dedication, life would have been meaningless.
Cleophus Orange has always been a fighter and even with his back against the ropes, he was able to come out of every round. On Wednesday, December 21, 2011, God rang the final bell and he quietly slept away. And like the entrance of an angel, the radiance of his presence would often fill the room with joy. His departure now leaves a void of darkness in our hearts that could only be filled by the light of our faith in God’s merciful promise of resurrection. Surely, Cleo Orange was a man of strength and courage. He will be missed.
He leaves to cherish his precious memories his devoted and dedicated wife, Sonia Munroe-Orange; daughters, Jacqueline Barfield (Jeff) and Jeannette Lee (Gary); uncle, Jacob Orange; aunts, Maggie and Alice Orange; beloved cousin, William Orange (Poncho); brother-in-law, Roderick Ricketts (Andrea); sisters-in-law, Paulette Campbell (Emanuel), Sylvia Dixon (Winston), Winnifred Mason, Sharon Lewis (Wayne), Joyce Manhurst, and Winsome Carruthers (Derrick) and a host of sorrowing relatives and friends.