Darryl Maurice Deaton departed this life on September 5, 2020. Darryl was laid to rest on Saturday, September 19, 2020.
He was 53. He was born on February 18, 1963 to the late Bronté Thomas Deaton and Ralph Junior Deaton. He was the next to the youngest child out of five children. Darryl’s mother passed away when he was five years old, but through God’s grace and Ralph’s charm, Thelma became the matriarch of the “Deaton Bunch”, Donzelle, Vernon, Roxanne, Terra, Ralphie, Darryl and Marlon. There was never a dull moment in the household.
Darryl was known for having many nicknames. He started out with a shared nickname of “Rough and Ready” with his youngest brother, Marlon, which was given to them by their uncle, William Wallace. The nickname was interchangeable since they were both “Rough” and stayed “Ready” for some mischief. Darryl later became known as “Cleats” from playing high school baseball. He may have been known to the community as “Cleats”, but to his immediate family his nickname was “Perry Mason”, given to him by his dad. When the family wanted to know the word on the street, “Perry Mason” knew or he would find out.
Darryl loved sports and played Little League Baseball, Little League Football, Pony League Baseball and Church League Basketball. In high school he lettered in football, basketball and baseball. Cleats was not only a varsity letterman, but excelled in music. He played practically all the brass instruments, starting with the coronet and later playing the tuba. He represented Kent County High School in the All State Choir, held in Baltimore, Maryland, and was in the All Shore Band. Cleats was always being the “Ambassador” of good will and friendship. He hosted a student from one of the lower shore counties during the All Shore Band. Cleats served as a class president, with his friend and classmate, John Larrimore, as vice president three out of four years of high school. He represented Kent County at Boys State and received the Elmer T. Hawkins Scholarship Award at his graduation.
Upon his graduation from high school, Cleats attended Chesapeake College for a year, playing basketball while there.
Cleats had a brief stint in the United States Navy. His duty stations included: Meridian, Mississippi and Norfolk, Virginia.
Cleats held a variety of jobs over the years, Conagra in Queenstown and Dining Services at Washington College. After attending Culinary Art School in Baltimore, Maryland, he served as a cook at the Harbor House and at Waterman’s. Things began to change in his life when he began working at Kent Youth. Cleats retired from the State of Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. Cleats coached junior varsity basketball at Kent County High School for almost 10 years.
Cleats had been a member of Janes United Methodist Church since childhood. He was a member of the Sunday School and choir, the JWW Singers (Youth choir) and Janes Men’s Choir. Cleats’ love for singing was shared with others who often requested him to sing at various events in the community. Once of his last treks was to see that “Lady W” was transported to and from the train station in Wilmington, Delaware, as she made her trips back to the south.
Cleats leaves to cherish his memory, his father, Ralph; sons, Darius Harris and Jaden Wilson; sisters, Roxanne and Terra; brother, Marlon; aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, godmother, godchildren and a multitude of good friends.
Darryl Maurice “Cleats” Deaton, lived his life being a coach, mentor, family historian and friend.
Arrangements by Bennie Smith Funeral Home.