Editor’s Note: The News Journal will also have a story on Mr. Graham later today.
Clarence Graham, 89, of Wilmington, died Monday, December 28, 2020, at Miami Valley Hospital.
He was born on Christmas Day, 1931, to parents Wendell Graham and Ada Luella McKay.
His two brothers, Wendell Leland Graham, of Xenia, and Eugene Graham, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, preceded him in death.
Clarence is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Anne (Betty) Van Pelt — the two inseparable over 70 years of marriage.
Also surviving are his son, Michael (Linda) Graham, and two daughters, Carol (William) Peelle and Teresa (Richard) Marino; grandchildren, Grant (Carrie) Peelle, Chaley (Thomas) Griffith, Anthony Marino, Hollie Graham, Emily (John) Harvey, Michael Thomas Graham; and 11 great grandchildren.
Clarence was a lifelong Clinton Countian, reared on a Chester Township farm. He graduated from Kingman High School, and attended Miami University.
He farmed before joining the advertising department of the Wilmington News-Journal in 1956, where his newspaper career spanned 42 years.
In 1998, he retired as publisher after holding the positions of sports editor, city editor, editor, and editor/general manager.
In his farewell column after announcing his retirement, Clarence wrote:
“I would like for you to think that all newspaper people are not hard core with no conscience. Stories that had to run, though it sometimes brought problems and heartaches to others, bothered me too. It was often not easy. There is little choice when you choose to write and edit a newspaper. There is a job to do and freedom of the press is something that should continue. It keeps government accountable for its actions. It keeps us all accountable.”
Few, if any, in the newspaper business knew their communities as well as Clarence knew his. He once was asked why he printed fire runs that turned out to be nothing more than fire alarms. Wasn’t that a waste of precious space in the newspaper? He said people probably saw the fire truck race by and wondered where it was going and what happened — even if nothing happened.
Clarence was especially proud of those who worked alongside him over the years, the editors and the young reporters who learned their craft under his steady editorial hand and went on to have rewarding careers in journalism, business, education, and other fields.
When he wasn’t meeting his newspaper deadlines, Clarence devoted many hours to community service.
He was a member and chairman of the board of trustees of Clinton Memorial Hospital, and served on the board of the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC). He was a member of the steering committee for construction of the new Clinton County Family YMCA, a member of the Wilmington City Schools Citizen Committee, and a Chamber of Commerce board member. He also served on Clinton County Foundation board and the Cape May advisory board.
Clarence will be remembered by his family for his love and devotion to them and the pure joy he derived from time spent with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
A private memorial will be held by the family at a later date. Littleton Funeral Home of Sabina is handling arrangements.