A dear friend and hero

Published 9:17 pm Friday, October 1, 2010

When I received a telephone call from Mr. Bob Jones in Climax Thursday morning letting me know that our dear friend, Mr. Clifford Wells, had passed away, I was deeply saddened.

In Climax, correspondent Jean Ann Ouzts column in today’s edition, she recounts fond memories of Mr. Clifford, a World War II veteran and one of my heroes, given by Decatur County Commissioner Butch Mosely, Climax Mayor Charles Hadsock and herself.

I also have fond memories of my many visits and conversations with Mr. Clifford and the good times we shared.

Email newsletter signup

I remember how proud he was when the New York Giants defeated the previously undefeated New England Patriots 17-14 in Phoenix, Ariz., to win the 2007 Super Bowl championship with Climax native and former Bainbridge High School Bearcats and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets player James Butler starting in the defensive secondary.

I took a picture of Mr. Clifford with James on his return to Climax following the Super Bowl. About a month later at James Butler Day on Climax’s Swine Time grounds, James autographed the picture for Mr. Clifford.

For many years, Mr. Clifford and his dear friend, Mr. Foy Hobbs, were co-publicity chairmen for the Swine Time Festival that takes place the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving each year.

Annually, Mr. Clifford, Mr. Foy and I would ride until we found some hogs for the Swine Time princess and her court to pose with.

Mr. Clifford and I shared many more happy moments together through the years.

One year, when they decided to have an alumni basketball game between former Climax High School and Attapulgus High School alumni players on Swine Time Friday night at the old Climax High School Gymnasium, Mr. Clifford was greeting fans at the door.

The Climax, Attapulgus basketball rivalry took place before I became sports editor of The Post-Searchlight, but from what I have heard, it was very intense.

Mr. Clifford was the Climax girls team coach during some of those years. A lady walking up to attend the alumni game asked Mr. Clifford if there were any seats on the Climax side. He explained that she would have to find a seat because the fire marshal would not allow the door to be blocked.

“There are no seats over here but there are some over there,” he explained pointing to the Attapulgus side.

“I’m from Climax and I’m not sitting over there,” she said rather indignantly.

“I guess the rivalry is still here,” Mr. Clifford said with a chuckle after finding her a small place to sit on the Climax side.

I remember the year that Georgia Gov. Joe Frank Harris and Climax native Earnie Riles, who had just been named USA Today’s rookie of the year with the Milwaukee Brewers, were featured guests at Swine Time.

We ran a headline in The Post-Searchlight that read Riles, Gov. Harris featured Swine Time guests.

Mr. Clifford asked me why we put Earnie’s name before the governor’s. I told him he had a better year than the governor and we both had a big laugh.

Mr. Clifford and his dear wife, Ms. Fannie, have always been two of my favorite people. They are a wonderful Christian couple.

My heartfelt condolences go out to all the Wells family. They can take consolation knowing that Mr. Clifford is with the Lord he loved so much.