The Woodward News

October 9, 2006

One of the good guys

Two weeks ago I was looking forward to the first week of October. I love fall and there are so many things going on . . . Field station dedication was Monday, the Governor in town on Wednesday, on Thursday the dedication of the Lowrey Park, Friday the plans to our Northwestern campus being announced.

What a GREAT week for Woodward I kept thinking – then tragedy happens.

It doesn’t matter if you know someone personally or just know of them when sad things happen. Either way it happens to all of us. You feel so sad and helpless for the families and for co-workers and friends. A lot of our co-workers are part of our families because we spend so much time with them.

It must be my age but I do read obituaries whether I know the person or not. I am consoled in someway when I read of a life that ended at 94, or 86, because I think about what a wonderful life they had. I don’t like to read the young obits of 50, 40 years of age or even younger – no one does.

When things like this happen I always think of what my mother told me when I was young and you probably heard it too – tragedy happens in 3’s. I thought the first of the week was so sad and I couldn’t shake what my mom used to say, and I prayed please don’t be true don’t let us have another sad thing happen to our little community.

Then I get a call from a dear friend about Monty Clem – and Monty I knew personally. I have known Monty for a long time but really got to know him through the sheriff’s department and in investigations that we covered here at the paper.

I grew to respect and admire this gentle soul. We saw him day in and day out at the landfill working under awful conditions. He always greeted us from the newspaper with a big grin, and was always willing to help us anyway he could. His words were soft and gentle and always calm. When we would ask for an interview he never wanted the light put on him, he always thought there were other people that we should talk to, and when I would brag on him on how great a job he was doing and how much we appreciated him he would say, “Well Pam that’s my job.”

He had an easy going manner and a slow walk that we could always pick out from a distance. After we visited with him he always thanked us for helping them.

Monty Clem was one of those good guys with the white hats. He was compassionate and caring and one of the kindest gentlemen I have ever meant and I am honored to have known him.

You could tell he adored his family and that he knew he was blessed with a wife and children that adored him. He helped keep this community safe for a long time and did it proudly. We as co-workers and friends are better people because we knew him. We will truly miss you Monte Clem, you left a hand print on our hearts.

Pam Nelson is publisher of the Woodward News.