Otis Odell "Pete" Clemons

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Otis Odell "Pete" Clemons, known to all as "Pete", passed away at home on Sept.16, 2018. Born May 30, 1927 in Kissimmee he was the son of Oscar and Theresa Bronson Clemons and a 4th generation Floridian.
Pete's word was his bond and he was respected and beloved by all who knew him. He was a man of deep faith, an accomplished rodeo cowboy and successful businessman; but above all he was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and an inspiration to countless young men and women.
Pete was arguably the most renowned Florida cowboy of his era. He won Best All Around Cowboy honors at the Silver Spurs Rodeo, the largest in the east, a record 8 times. To win this title he competed in five events: bull riding, bareback broncs, saddle broncs, steer wrestling and calf roping. In 1949 artist Buster Kenton was inspired to memorialize Pete's rodeo skills and created a cartoon character named Cowboy Jake. Cowboy Jake then became the mascot for Osceola High School and it remains so to this day. Pete grew up on ranches in Osceola and Highlands Counties and graduated from Osceola High School in 1945 where he played basketball, baseball and football.
Pete volunteered to serve his country in the United States Navy in WWII in the Pacific Theater. At the war's end he continued to rodeo and worked his way through the University of Florida with his earnings. He graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. Pete continued to rodeo throughout the United States and traveled to South America twice to serve as an ambassador of the U.S. rodeo.
Not only was he a legend on the rodeo circuit, Pete a successful cattle rancher in the Basinger area and the majority of his years as owner-operator of the Okeechobee Livestock Market. He built his business to be one of the largest markets east of the Mississippi. The market continues to operate under the management of his two sons Jeff and Todd Clemons.
Among his most notable honors, Pete is the only person to be inducted into the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame and the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. In 2009 he received the Florida Department of State Folk Heritage Award in recognition of his successful rodeo career on statewide, national and international levels, as well as his contributions to the state's cattle ranching community.
Pete contributed his time and expertise to many industry and community organizations. He was a longtime member of the Okeechobee Cattlemen's Association, Honorary Director of the Florida Cattlemen's Association, served on the Board of Directors of the Okeechobee County Bank, later Barnett Bank and the Federal Land Bank. He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church.
He had a passion for life that was unparalleled. Big game hunting, fishing, flying his plane, scuba diving, an avid supporter of the University of Florida Gator football, rodeo and philanthropist, Pete enjoyed his life to the fullest. Above all he loved his wife of 29 years Susanne Hancock Clemons, his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and legions of friends.
Pete Clemons left this world a better place and his legacy will live on in all his acts of kindness. He will be profoundly missed by all the lives he touched.
He was predeceased by his mother, Theresa Bronson Clemons; father, Oscar Clemons; stepmother, Myrtle Clemons; sister, Sissie Clemons Prescott; brothers-in-law, Harold "King Kong" Smith and Larry Riedel.
He is survived by his wife, Susanne Hancock Clemons; sons, Jeff (Debbie) Clemons and Todd (Tina) Clemons; grandchildren, Kit Clemons, Audra Clemons (Carlos Abreu), Sam Clemons, Matt (Heather) Clemons, all of Okeechobee, and Casey (Adrienne) Clemons, of Lake City; sister, Billie Jean (Mark) Reynolds, of Okeechobee; brother, Bud (Kathy) Clemons, of Kersey, Colorado; mother-in-law, Jean Durrance Hancock; sister-in-law, Jane Hancock (Don Applequist); brother-in-law, Ned (Tammy) Hancock, all of Sebring; nine great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins whom he dearly loved.
Special thanks to his beloved caregivers, Oneyda Martinez, Marshall Simmons and special neighbors Roy and Patty and their families.
Memorial gifts may be given to: First United Methodist Church Building Fund, 200 NW 2nd ST, Okeechobee FL 34972, and Hospice of Okeechobee, PO Box 1548, Okeechobee, FL 34973.
Visitation will be 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018 at Buxton & Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home.
Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 at the First Baptist Church, 401 SW 4th ST, Okeechobee FL 34974.
Those wishing to leave a message of condolence may sign the register book at, www.OkeechobeeFuneralHome.com
All arrangements are entrusted to the direction and care of the Buxton & Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home, 400 North Parrott Avenue, Okeechobee, Florida, 34972.

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Buxton and Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home & Crematory - Okeechobee
400 North Parrott Avenue
Okeechobee, FL 34972
(863) 763-1994
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Published in NewsZapFL on Sept. 19, 2018
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