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Gene Clarke remembered, growing up in Columbia
"We grew up on the Square in Columbia... Gene had a mischievous streak, he and the late Jimmy Harper (former postmaster) sold iced-down watermelons at the county fair, along with cold beer hidden under the watermelons. Their concession was more popular than most of the others..." -BC
By Bruce Clarke
My second oldest brother, Gene Clarke, passed away this summer. We held a memorial service for him at his church in Centralia, Illinois. Family members attended from all over the US. The service included a 21 gun salute by the VFW from the sidewalk in front of the church. He would have thoroughly enjoyed being at such a large family reunion and gathering of his friends. He was there in spirit.
My father and mother ran the Hotel Miller on the corner of the "Square" and Greensburg St. across from the street from Rexall Drug Store (the hotel burned down many years later). All my siblings worked at the hotel.
Gene had a mischievous streak. He and the late Jimmy Harper (former postmaster) sold iced-down watermelons at the county fair, along with cold beer hidden under the watermelons. Their concession was more popular than most of the others, it seemed.
He also would drive my Mother's '48 Mercury, which had a fine V-8 in it, out to run errands for her. Well, word got back to Mother, that Gene, was making "Jack Rabbit" starts and stops all over town. He was smoking the tires pretty good! I thought that was funny in a couple ways. One being that there weren't any Jack Rabbits even close to Adair Co.! Musta been somebody from Texas that ratted Gene out?
Well, Gene decided to go to UK and he pledged a fraternity. He was having a great time and flunking out in the process. My father being a Major in the Marine Corps wasn't about to put up with that and jerked him out of UK and Gene was soon at beautiful Paris Island, S.C. in Marine Boot Camp.
He played football in the Marines, made Sergeant and developed a lot of self-discipline. He decided on dentistry, got out of the Marines, went to Southern California for pre-dentistry and had a 3.8 GPA out of a possible 4.0. He then went on to Washington University Dental School and worked hard and got his DDS degree. He continued dentistry well beyond the normal retirement age. Many of his patients attended his memorial service.
When I was a kid and he was home (706 Greensburg St.) on leave from the Marine Corp, i would watch him pop off a hundred pushups at a time and not even be breathing hard. He was my role model that taught me with hard work and discipline, you can accomplish whatever you WANT to.
He leaves behind his siblings Tony, Sue and me, his loving, supportive wife Nancy who partnered with him to raise three successful, healthy children (Linda, Joe and Chrissy) and a slew of grandchildren.
We will always be telling "Gene stories" at all the future family reunions. Thanks Gene. - Love ya, Bruce
This story was posted on 2022-11-05 08:34:31
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