Clowning Around

Joy The Clown (Gainesville Times)He loved showing folks his driver’s license to prove that Joy The Clown wasn’t just a stage name – it was his legal name, according to the obituary Lauren Blais wrote about Joy The Clown for the March 26, 2011 edition of the Gainesville (Georgia) Times.

Blais wrote:

For Clown, clowning wasn’t an act, it was his life. And his name was no joke.

He acted the clown even without a stage.

For the last 12 years of his life, Joy served ice cream at the Corner Drugstore on Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville. When students from Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy walked down to get ice cream with their class, Joy would don his bowler hat, barber shop quartet jacket, white pants and makeup.

Here are a few other clowns who put smiles on our faces before they died:

Donald Borgeson (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)Donald Edward Borgeson, a.k.a. Pepi the Clown, a Shriners clown in Bozeman, Montana, who died May 22, entertained kids at parties and older folks at nursing homes.

His obituary says: “No matter where he went, he carried a pocket full of balloons so he could bring a smile to those he met.”


George Edwards (Courier Post)George Washington Edwards Jr., a.k.a. Bumper “T" Clown, 84, volunteered as a clown for sick people in many hospitals across South New Jersey.

His family wrote:

He founded an international organization titled Bumper "T" Caring Clowns that brings support and joy to those ill and in need of a smile. He received the Governor’s Award for the Most Innovative Volunteer Program in NJ. He received a commendation from the World Clown Association as the largest hospital clowning organization in the U.S.

Thomas J. Leverte, a retired pharmaceutical executive and former college basketball star, “played in the Eastern Pro Basketball League and toured the country with the Kokomo Clowns, a New York circus basketball team,” according to the obit in the Marin Independent Journal.

Joan Gunn (Pensacola News Journal)Joan Elaine Gunn, a.k.a. Pixie from Dixie started a clown ministry in the 1990s.

“Pixie from Dixie, the clown, traveled to Eastern Europe in 1996 to minister and clown,” her family wrote for the obit that ran in the Pensacola (Florida) News Journal in May.



This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer who lives in Northeast Ohio. She is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.