Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tribute to Clyde Wilson
I cut my newspaper publishing teeth at The Aberdeen Examiner. I took the job at the age of 28.
Thank goodness I had some fine homegrown folks there as members of the community newspaper team. One of those was a white-haired gentleman in his 60s named Clyde Wilson.
Moving into a new community, it’s a big plus to have someone on hand in the office who has a wealth of knowledge about that community. Clyde was the man in Aberdeen. He was a fixture. He loved his hometown. His hometown loved him.
He was born there, graduated from high school there and later returned to take over the family-owned Wilson Grocery.
But Clyde’s knowledge went far beyond his being an “Aberdeen encyclopedia.” He was a musician, a writer, an artist and the list goes on and on. He was one of the most talented persons I’ve ever been around and he loved to laugh.
He was a former member of the Copiah-Lincoln Junior College and Ole Miss Pride of the South bands. He served as band director at Co-Lin for 10 years, where under his leadership the band and Colettis became one of the most outstanding junior college show bands in the nation. He was inducted into the Co-Lin Band and Colette Alumni Hall of Fame during homecoming ceremonies last October.
He was a successful artist. One our cherished possessions is a beautiful sketch he did of our historic house, The Old Rectory, which we lived in during most of our eight years in Aberdeen.
Clyde covered the board of supervisors, wrote excellent editorials and did all types of important tasks at the newspaper. But perhaps most importantly, he knew everybody and everything and he played a key role in our goal of getting things right the first time (not making mistakes.)
He taught me a lot about community and helped me mature as a newspaper publisher. We shared the same philosophy when it comes to newspaper work – it must come from the heart.
Last Thursday, Pam and I got a call from Barbara Harrington, another member of our Aberdeen Examiner team during those years. She told us Clyde was found dead that morning at his residence.
Later in the day, another former co-worker there, Jimmy Willis, called with the same news.
Sunday, good friend and former newspaper colleague Rubye Del Harden and I drove to Aberdeen for Clyde’s funeral service. He was 78 years old. Just as Clyde would want, it was a happy reunion. I got to see lots of good friends from Monroe County.
Rev. James Rutledge called Clyde “a very rich person” because he had lots of friends, as witnessed by the large numbers attending the visitation and service. He said the funeral was indeed a celebration.
“Clyde was content on where he’d been and proud of where he was,” Rutledge said.
I last talked to Clyde a few months ago. For the past 10 years, he has published Tombigbee Country Magazine with distribution in all 50 states. He called asking to feature myself and South Reporter correspondent Dale Hollingsworth in the magazine. I obliged.
I will hang on to that copy of the magazine forever, as I will the special memories of my fun days of working with Clyde and the rest of the staff in Aberdeen.
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