WILLCOX Favorite Son and Daughter Award
Gary Lynn Clement
Definitely an in-town honoree this year. And lived nearly all of their life here, except for those few years down the road at college and for their first job, and that wasn´t far away at all.
Transferred back home quickly and worked here for a long time in an unglamorous job, but people enjoyed the personality and caring attitude of our honoree in this job. Also a good volunteer in the community in their young life. They finally got a dream job and really ran with it, taking this job as an opportunity to serve young and old throughout Willcox. Recently found another volunteer opportunity that ties in nicely with also serving all ages in the community. But before we get further into that, let´s back up to this person´s youth and their original background in this community.
It starts, of course, with parents who are loyal to the community and raised our honoree and their siblings to go to school here and graduate from Willcox High like their parents and grandparents before them.
Raised them to love horses, and our favorite son or daughter was a fine horseman, but didn´t ride them for competition. One of the younger siblings would do that. Our honoree was swift of foot, instead, and more of a city slicker, actually, especially when it came to relating to others.
Mom said this honoree is so charming that even when they were little, people gravitated to them. Sales women, sales people would say what a beautiful baby. And of course, as I can attest, sales people are not prone to lying.
Mom said this kid was always outgoing, a real people person. But while Mom was a Cowgirl and Dad a sports nut, this kid loved to read and loved movies. New movies, old movies, going to movies. Especially old ones with Abbott & Costello, or Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. But while mom figures it was cute that the kid liked the Wolfman and Frankenstein, younger brother said she may not know how much the kid also went for Godzilla, Creature from the Black Lagoon and those other rubber suited freaks from science fiction.
Certainly it led to an appreciation for drama. Not only in participating in community theater and plays from high school right through junior college, including musicals and even choir. And by the way, the spouse says one of the best roles for this grown-up kid was in Bye Bye Birdie, where their character was supposed to sing as bad as they could, and boy did our favorite son-daughter nail the song, badly.
But drama also characterized this favorite´s real life, from falling off a horse, to falling out of a truck´s cab when Dad turned too sharply at the El Taco drive thru when the door flew open. . . brother Greg and Dad said that was pretty funny, but our honoree was only 8 or 9 and didn´t appreciate unintentional slapstick. . . .to falling off a cliff at Red Knolls near Pima, to even tripping off a stage wearing a chicken suit at a choir performance, giving new meaning to the title “the Fall Sing at EAC.”
Brother Mike said the family didn´t even know who was the idiot in the chickensuit during that performance, but they should have guessed, don´t you think? I´m sure our favorite son has an idea who we´re talking about by now, but if they don´t, here´s a line from one of your Lumberjack roles that may bring back memories, “Beans for breakfast, beans for lunch and dinner, always beans my body´s getting thinner.”
Our favorite son has always been skinny, and pretty fast, too, whether as an award winning track star for Willcox High School in the late 80´s, or as an inveterate date machine for local girls looking for a people person.
High school graduation night at his house he had an older girlfriend come in from college at EAC, and a new flame from that high school in the Benson area. Mike said “I remember dad and Greg keeping the older girl busy while he was spending time with the Benson girl, before giving attention again to the older girl. Mike remembers he was quite the juggilo for a night.
Greg says “he made me saddle the horses when he brought a college date back home.” Greg got his revenge though, because “we had an apartment together in junior college and when he brought a date back to the apartment and left them for just a minute,well they would be flirting with me by the time he came back.” Seems to me there´s plenty of drama to go around in this family.
But our favorite son also met his future wife near this time while out on a date with another girl. Turns out he liked the date his friend had a bit better and they would hit it off like, like Wolfman and Dracula´s daughter.
She says “He was goofy and charming and very polite and has a very intriguing mind.” They got married four months later and she´s out there with him now, 20 years later. Despite the fact that he even wore clown outfits to one of his first jobs. That he worked as a waiter for nearly 17 years before getting a little ambition and finding his current dream job.
And despite the fact that he still uses hand puppets while over the age of 40. But hey, his popularity with kids is helping to make Willcox a little more attractive to teenagers, who are winning awards in a magazine program he created. Teachers fight over his services as a story-time reader for the little kids. Adults are extremely appreciative of his culture programs that have featured Celtic musicians, Chatauqua performers, history presentations and even poetic performances.
And Seniors are grateful for the classic movies he has found and helps narrate for the Senior Movie Series.
He is a key member of the group trying to bring back the Rex Allen Theater. He, of course, works as Programming Technician and has helped put the word community in Elsie S. Hogan Community Library.
He´s big-hearted and goofy, sometimes still remembered as Tricky Bones the clown, and some people still want him to get back to Pizza Hut and fill their order, but he´s our Favorite Son 2012, Gary Lynn Clement, come on up here.
Contributions to this presentation were made by Jody & Gary Lee Clement, Marci, Greg, and Mike Clement, and friends Gayle Berry, Debbie Sunderland, Wayne Crane and Joe Duhon.