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Friday, February 5, 2010

So Long Clarence

 
It is with sadness that I report the passing of my good friend, Clarence Fowler, WA0TSL. I got to know Clarence through amateur radio, at first by voice, then by pictures on SSTV, and then finally in person. Clarence lived in Crockett, Texas, and often referred to himself as the "Crockett Rocket" and often referred to his home as "paradise in the pines".

To say the least, Clarence was a unique individual. I know that Clarence was married for a period of time in the 70's. I am not exactly sure why he and his wife split up but he led us to believe that one reason was because he would refuse to put the toilet seat down. Knowing Clarence, this was probably true.

When I first got to know Clarence, he was living in Texas and making some kind of living as a TV repairmen. Well, as you know, it has gotten to the point that TV's are no longer worth fixing. It is cheaper to buy a new one than to fix an old one, so eventually Clarence "retired" from the repair bidness. He existed in his final years on Social Security and savings (according to him).
Clarence lived a modest existence in Crockett and from conversations with some of my radio friends, we think he probably survived on as little as 3 to 4 thousand dollars per year. His home was paid for (most of it built by him). He had no bills that I know about. He was a veteran of the army and went to the VA hospital for healthcare, and was frequently thought to mooch free meals from lady friends in the area.

Clarence was the biggest tightwad I had ever known and it was unusual to find him spending money on much of anything, but it seemed like he always had enough for radios. Some of us speculated that he was in fact loaded and had a fortune buried somewhere in his yard. I guess we'll never really know for sure. In the picture immediately below, we all teased Clarence that his cap was really a callsign cap and was supposed to say, WA0TSL, but that he was so cheap that he could only afford the W. We all had a good laugh and I think Clarence probably laughed the loudest.
We got to socialize personally with Clarence at the Dayton Hamvention. He did not always show up (due to lack of funds) but when he did appear, we all had a great time. He was a truly nice fellow, even tempered, always smiling, and I never remember a cross word from the man.

In addition to ham radio, Clarence and I endeavored in exchanging home videos over the internet. It was always fun to exchange movies with Clarence. I sent him the entire series of the old TV show, Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford, one episode at a time over the internet. Clarence only had dial-up (too cheap for broadband) so it took him a long long time to get each show, but he told me he truly enjoyed them.
We are all truly blessed for having known Clarence. Whenever he was with us, we all had a great time and he did too. He will truly be missed. So long old buddy. I am honored to have been your "good friend".

Live each day of your life as if it were your last. Cherish each day you have with your family and friends. You won't be sorry.


8 comments:

  1. Very nice tribute to our friend Clarence. He truly was a unique person. While he was always kind and easy going with me, I know he had his idiosyncrasies that would have driven a wife crazy. He was always fun to talk to on Ham radio and I'm thankful to have known him.

    Good advice sweet Grouch, each day is a blessing, we never know when it might be our last. I'm sure Clarence knew you and the rest of the bunch were his "good friends". He had many hours, actually years, enjoying his Ham radio friends.

    Debbie
    Right Truth
    http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

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  2. Its sad to lose good friends. As my friend,John told me once his biggest fear was that he would out live all his friends---that says it!

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  3. BT the post is very nice.Clarence will be and is all ready missed in my heart.I always like to here him on the band. I quess he is in the radio heaven with kate. I will sure miss him.
    WB9D

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  4. Grouch,

    I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend. I lost the man I have called my best friend since I was fourteen last December.

    All I can say is I know he is in a better place, and he suffers no more!

    Dwell on the happy memories and it does get a little easier every day.

    Lock & Load!!!

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  5. Dog you forgot about The Cellphone Lady.
    I always enjoyed Clarence on the radio and in Dayton.
    He is already missed. I enjoyed telling him " Clarence you're walkin the dog ' I think he enjoyed it also. Does anyone know how to contact his sister ? We all have lots of pictures she might enjoy.
    K4ZET

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  6. Thanks, everyone for your comments. Clarence was a goodun. He'll be missed.

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  7. Hello,

    I am Clarence's sister Cora and I appreciate what you wrote about my brother. You seem to know him well. Thank you for your comments. Cellphone lady, I am interested in the pictures. You can contact me at fowler1912@sbcglobal.net. Thanks again, Cora

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  8. Cora,

    I am delighted that you found my blog and my post about Clarence. I guess you figured from reading that we all loved your brother very much. I dunno if you'll find your way back here or not so I'll send you and email and some information to the address you provided. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    Grouch

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