Clinton Leon "Jack" McMath, 88, of Westridge Road, passed away on Tuesday Dec. 17, 2013, at Carlsbad Medical Center. He was born March 23, 1925, to William P. and Eva Lee McMath near Arrey, N.M. He was their fifth child and fourth son. Early in his first year, he was nicknamed Jack by his father and the name stuck. Three more children followed Jack in the family, two boys and a girl.
Jack met Bertha Caster on the first day of second grade on the Ewing school bus. Some years later while on leave from the Army Air Force at the end of WWII, they were re-introduced by Jack's youngest sister, Marilyn, and married on June 9, 1945, in Bernalillo, N.M. A son Clinton R. was born in late 1946 and a daughter Cheryl arrived in late 1948.
Jack's early years were spent primarily in the Estancia Valley of central New Mexico. His father took various jobs from time to time, but was primarily a farmer. He attended several local schools including Mountainair High School, but decided to work in agriculture and later ship building in California. After turning 18, he volunteered to be drafted and entered military service in late 1943. After training at several bases, Jack was assigned to a B-17 crew which flew a new B-17G to Foggia, Italy, via Newfoundland, the Azores Island and North Africa. Assigned to the 419th Squadron, 301st Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force, he completed a total of 35 combat missions; 18 were as a tail gunner and 17 as a bombardier. His last combat mission was on April 6, 1945. In less than 18 months of military service, he attained the rank of Technical Sergeant. He was on a troop ship in the Straits of Gibraltar on V-E Day.
Upon returning to Boston, Mass., he was assigned to Walker Field in Roswell. On Oct. 26, 1945, he had acquired the required service points for discharge. In May 1946, he applied with the Santa Fe Railroad in Albuquerque as an apprentice. For the next 36 years and eight months, Jack's career advanced as a journeyman carman, car foreman, mechanical foreman and general forman with assignments in Albuquerque, San Angelo, Texas, Hurley, N.M., Cleburne, Texas, Chicago, Ill. and Carlsbad. He also took numerous temporary buyer/inspector assignments in the eastern US. He was a certified welder, gifted mechanic, world-class improviser and highly skilled in all mechanical and operational aspects of railroad operations and management. He retired from the Santa Fe Railroad in Carlsbad in 1983.
Following retirement, he and Bertha traveled the world and the U.S. They visited all 50 states, 49 states, Canada and Mexico in their motor home. They went on frequent tours and cruises including trips to Scandinavia, Russia, Europe, China, Panama, various Caribbean islands and Australia. He was active in the local Caveman Sam's Club for over 31 years and was awarded the State Golden Halo Award. He was a member of Senior Circle in his later years. A life-long Southern Baptist, Jack was a member of First Baptist Church in Carlsbad and had served as a Deacon in several Southern Baptist Churches before moving to Carlsbad.
He was preceded in death by his parents, W.P and Eva McMath, sister Velma Spangler, brothers Ellis McMath, Robert McMath and Bill McMath.
He is survived by his wife of 68 ½ years, Bertha McMath of Carlsbad, son Clinton McMath and wife Barbara of Mentz, Texas, daughter Cheryl Newman and husband Terry of Norman, Okla.; granddaughters Dr. Tami Williams and husband Brandon of Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Shonda Mattoon and husband Todd of Kingston, Okla., grandsons Brian Osborn and wife Cheslee of Lafayette, La. and John McMath of Alleyton, Texas; great-granddaughter Sara Williams of Cape Girardeau, Mo., and great-grandsons Mason Osborn of Lafayette, La., Cole Williams of Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Parker Mattoon of Kingston, Okla.; brothers Gordon McMath and wife Biddie of Mountainair, N.M., and Charles McMath and wife Betty of Elephant Butte, N.M., sister Marilyn Coburn of Estancia, N.M. as well as many cousins, nephews, nieces and friends.
Honorary Pallbearers will be Dr. Tami Williams, Brian Osborn, John McMath, Shonda Mattoon, Sara and Cole Williams, Mason Osborn and Parker Mattoon.
Visitation will be 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, at Denton Wood Funeral Home. The funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2013, at Denton Wood Funeral Home with Randy Land and Kevin Pence officiating. Burial will be at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 24 in the Santa Fe National Cemetery with Denton-Wood Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be expressed at dentonwood.com
Denton-Wood Funeral Home
1001 North Canal Street Carlsbad, NM 88220
Published in Carlsbad Current-Argus on Dec. 22, 2013