WEIRTON, W.Va. – Marvin Clifton didn’t go to work expecting to die when he walked through the Weirton Steel Corp. mill gates on an October night in 1999.
But Clifton became the last man to be fatally injured at the steel mill when he was struck by a railroad car that had left the tracks.
Clifton is one of 117 steelworkers who died from injuries received in the steel mill and are listed on a memorial wall where family, friends and steelworkers will gather at 9 a.m. Monday to remember those killed in the plant since 1919.
Lindsay Clifton, a niece of Marvin Clifton, will remember her uncle during the ceremony that will see the names of all the steelworkers read slowly followed by the ringing of a bell.
It is expected to be a solemn and subdued service that will recall Clifton, the husband, father, uncle and co-worker.
Clifton was a brakeman in the mill’s railroad department who reported for the midnight shift.
“The railroad was pushing empty coal cars onto the track near the No. 1 blast furnace when one of the cars came off the track and crushed Marvin against a slag car,” recalled union official Mike Vitello.
“Marvin was a down-to-earth guy who everyone liked. He was a strong family man with a wife and three daughters. I remember going to the funeral home in Richmond. It was a very sad day that I will never forget,” said Vitello.
Stephen Holter, a bagpiper from Youngstown, will play the opening song in the Steelworker Memorial Park and will conclude the service with his slow rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
The audience will hear remarks from USW Local 2911 President Mark Glyptis, ArcelorMittal USA Weirton General Manager Brian James and ArcelorMittal USA General Counsel Paul Liebenson.
Steelworkers and area pastors, Robert Macek and Robert Hoover, will read the 117 names, while Enid Williams and Diana Durst ring the bells marking each name. Mark Apesos of the American Legion will play taps.
“This is the fourth year we have held this ceremony and my heart breaks every time I go to the memorial park and read the names of the fallen…