Sept. 19, 1924 – June 29, 2014
8 entries | 1 photo
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Clarence Rae 'Bud' Clem was born in LeRoy, Kan. to Dorthea and William Clem. As a teenager, he contracted Rheumatic Fever, claiming he was living on 'borrowed time' for the rest of his 89 years. A Naval Aviator, he was deployed to the Pacific on the USS Cowpens, which was one of the first American aircraft to land in Japan.
After the war, he earned a degree in ag economics at Kansas State University and took a job with Farm Bureau where Jean Rawson arranged a fake meeting between him and his boss, 'because she thought he was handsome.' So began their 60-year infatuation with each other. They eloped on Valentine's Day and moved to Colby, Kan., where he became the farm reporter and DJ for KXXX Radio. They soon moved to Bozeman, with only a canoe and two duck lamps, the essentials. Later, Bud worked for The American Dairy Association but soon joined Jean, printing the jobs she would type for small businesses, movie producers and writers.
Bud co-founded the Fort Ellis Fire Department, bought the first fire engine, architected and built most of the first fire hall and was its first fire chief. During his free time, he developed a BBQ sauce specifically for bison, roasting it in deep pits for neighbors, dignitaries and guests from around the world. A lifelong Mason and Shriner, he was also part of many other community groups and boards. He could and probably would, to the embarrassment of his kids, strike up a conversation with anyone, at any time.
He developed and sold a hull-less barley sold around the world. He helped found the Montana Manufacturers Association and was constantly inventing and building things for himself and others, from farm equipment to printing systems, food processing and even a trivia game called Explore Montana.
Bud was a voracious reader with an insatiable curiosity, but he especially loved the outdoors. Frequenting the pools along the Gallatin, people would stop their cars and watch his gentle and effortless fly casting. He could walk up to a hole, read the water, place his nymph and find fish others had never known existed. His love of the outdoors included hunting as well, a true sportsman and conservationist with a love for Montana surpassed only by his love of his family and friends.
Bud lived with his wife, Jean, holding hands and exploring Montana until the end. He passed away peacefully on the 29th of June, a typical sunny Sunday Montana summer morning, dreaming of the Gallatin River and the hope that a fish will rise...
Bud was preceded in death by his mother and father, his brothers, Norman and Albert, and sister, Wilma Park and her husband, Burt. He is survived by his wife, Jean; his children, William 'Bill' (Bobbi), Carma Sinerius (John) and Richard (Bette); grandchildren, Daniel Clem, Gregory Clem, Frank (Sherry) Sinerius, Diana (Jim Clark), and Brandi Lansing; four great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
He donated his body to science and the WWAMI Program at Montana State University. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 17 at 11 a.m. at the graveside at Sunset Hills Cemetery, Bozeman, south of Lindley Park. A celebration of his life will be held Sunday, Sept. 21 with a Buffalo BBQ at Highgate Senior Living in Bozeman.
In honor of Bud, please make a donation to either the Shriners Hospitals for Children, 911 W. 5th Ave., Spokane, WA 99204 or Parkinson's Disease Association, 500 - 15th Ave. South, Great Falls, MT 59405.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on July 11, 2014