In Memory of Joe Donald “Don” Clements

Joe Donald Clements
February 26, 1931 – September 26, 2014

Joe Donald Clements, 1931-2014

Joe Donald Clements, 1931-2014

Mr. Joe Donald (Don) Clements, age 83, of Rome, GA, passed away on September 26, 2014, at his home following an extended illness.

Mr. Clements was born in Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia, on February 26, 1931. He was a son of the late Joseph Samuel Clements and Effie Oquinn , and a grandson of  Levi J. Clements and Elizabeth Roena Patten.  Mr. Clements attended college at North Georgia College where he served in the Corps of Cadets.  He excelled in athletics playing on the varsity baseball team, and was known as the Ray City Flash. Following graduation, he served in the United States Army, leaving the service as a First Lieutenant in 1956.

Mr. Clements was an insurance manager with Crawford & Company for 37 years. After his retirement from Crawford & Company, he worked another 15 years for the Mundy & Gammage Law Firm as a consultant on insurance matters. He was a long time member of the First Baptist Church of Rome and served his church in many capacities. He was a faithful volunteer at the Rome Food Pantry, the William S. Davies Homeless Shelter, and the Community Kitchen.

Survivors include: his wife of more than sixty years, Helen Gudger Clements; three sons, Joe Donald Clements, Jr. (Cecilia) of Springfield, VA; John Terry Clements (Rebecca) of Atlanta, GA; James Frank Clements (Alice) of Rome, GA; and one daughter, Susan Clements Thornhill (Simon) of Santa Cruz, CA. Survivors also include seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service was held on Sunday afternoon September 28, 2014 at 2:00 p. m. in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Rome with Dr. Joel Snider officiating. Visitation immediately followed the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to Action Ministries Rome, 207 East 19th St., Rome, GA 30161, William S. Davies Homeless Shelter, PMB 198, 3 Central Plaza, Rome, GA 30161 or the Community Kitchen, 3 Central Plaza, Suite 384, Rome, GA 30161.”

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Maxie Snead Patten, Youth Leader

Sixty-two years ago on this date, August 31, Ray City Baptist Church heard from guest speaker Maxie Snead Patten, a well known youth leader, author, teacher and coach.

Maxie Snead Patten 1937-38. Image detail courtesy of berriencountyga.com.

Maxie Snead Patten 1937-38. Image detail courtesy of berriencountyga.com.


The Nashville Herald
August 31, 1950, Page 1

Mrs. Patten to Speak at Ray City Church Sunday P.M.

Mrs. Maxie Snead Patten will speak Sunday evening at 8 p.m. at Ray City Baptist Church, it was announced today.

The well known South Georgia young people’s leader will speak primarily to the youth of the community, filling the pulpit of the Rev. John W. Harrell.

A large attendance is being urged.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker.

Maxie Snead Patten was a daughter of Laura Youmans and William McIntyre “Bill” Snead, of Nashville, GA. Her father was a large land owner.

Maxie Snead attended Nashville High School where she played on the girls basketball team.

Christmas Eve Wedding

In 1933, Maxie Snead married Grover Patten in a Christmas Eve ceremony performed by Reverend John W. Harrell.

Later she taught in area schools and coached girls basketball. In 1937-38 she coached the New Lois girls team to the Berrien County championship.

In the 1940s Maxie Snead Patten authored a book, Youth, the Miracle Age, and was known as a youth leader.

Children of Maxie Patten

Children of Maxie Patten.
L-R, are Reba Patten, Patti Patten, and Kaye Patten. The photo was taken in late 1940s, at the Grover Patten home in Nashville, GA, next door to Bill and Laura Youmans Snead, grandparents of the Patten children. (Identifications courtesy of Linda Ward Meadows).

-30-

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Baseball in the Wiregrass

While the Ray City baseball team wasn’t up for league play, the Valdosta “Otters” and other Wiregrass teams formed various associations.  The Empire State League of 1913 included Brunswick, Waycross, Cordele, Thomasville, and Americus, GA.

1909 Rays Mill Diamondmen Sweltered in July Heat

Organized baseball was played in Berrien County, GA at least as early as the 1880s (see 1884 Memoriam to the Alapaha Boys of Summer). By the early 1900s practically every town in America sported a baseball team, and Ray City, GA was no exception.

The local team was the public face of the town. A city with a professional baseball team was a city to be reckoned with; a city with a winning professional team was a winner.”  – Society for American Baseball Research

Over the years, Ray City has produced a number of high school, college and minor league baseball players and coaches, and at least one player who made it to the major league.  But from sporting news in the state newspapers, it appears that in the summer of 1909 the Ray City (then known as Rays Mill) team struggled against other local teams .

The  July 1, 1909 edition of the Atlanta Georgian and News reported that the Rays Mill team gave up a series to Milltown, two games to one:

MILLTOWN WINS SERIES.
Milltown, Ga., July 1. – in a hotly contested bame [sic] of baseball Milltown won its second victory from Rays Mill by the score of 5 to 4. The game was played on Milltown’s new diamond. Schucker and Shaw did the 
battery work for the home team, while Sellman and Shaw did the same duties for the visitors. Schucker, for the home team, only gave up three hits, struck out fifteen men and did on walk but one man. Sellman, of the visitors, gave up seven hits, walked two men and struck out nine men. Milltown has played three games with Rays Mill, winning the first , 16 to 2, and the second game went to Rays Mill by the score of 5 to 6 in ten innings. The milltown team was composed of all home players.

The Rays Mill team followed up with another loss to the Nashville team.

Atlanta Georgian and News, Jul. 6, 1909 — page 10
NASHVILLE 10, RAYS MILL 3.
Nashville, Ga., July 6. – The Nashville team met and defeated the Rays Mill team Monday by the score of 10 to 3.  J. Hill, of Nashville, did not allow a single hit. He made four hits out of five times up.
NASHVILLE 8, BANNOCKBURN 4.
Nashville, Ga., July 6. – The Bannockburn ball club came over to Nashville Monday and was defeated by the Nashville second nine by the score of 8 to 4. Thompson pitched for the visitors, while E. Griner pitched for the home club.

Regardless of the home team wins or losses, the Ray City baseball team remained popular for decades.  Soon, home games were being hosted on the diamond at Mayhaw Lake Resort . Later, the team played on an open field next to the tracks of the Georgia & Florida Railroad and Jones Street.

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The Empire State League: South Georgia Baseball in 1913

The Ray City Flash Graduates

The entry in the 1953 Cyclops, yearbook of North Georgia College, reads:

Joe Donald Clements
Ray City, Georgia

Well, if it ain’t “Jody Sweetheart,” the Ray City Flash.  The slowest P. E. major in the business, “Jody” was a member of the Officer’s Club, the Physical Education Club, the Letterman’s Club, the N. C. O. Club, and the Varsity Basketball Team.  Never forget all the Botany that you’ve learned, “Jody,” for it might come in handy someday. He receives a B. S. degree in Physical Education.

Joe Donald Clements, 1953 yearbook photo, North Georgia College (now the University of North Georgia)

Joe Donald Clements, 1953 yearbook photo, North Georgia College (now the University of North Georgia)

 Joe D. Clements, of Ray City, GA  with North Georgia College  Summer 1953 Graduating Class

Joe D. Clements, of Ray City, GA with North Georgia College Summer 1953 Graduating Class

Joe D. Clements, 1952, North Georgia College

Joe D. Clements, 1952, North Georgia College

Joe D. Clements with the 1951 Letterman's Club, North Georgia College.

Joe D. Clements with the 1951 Letterman’s Club, North Georgia College.

 

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Joe D. Clements ~ The Ray City Flash

Joe D. Clements, 1950, Freshman at North Georgia College

Joe D. Clements, 1950, Freshman at North Georgia College

Joseph Donald Clements (1931-2014)

Joseph Donald Clements, of Ray City, GA attended North Georgia College – Georgia’s Military College – in the early 1950s on a baseball scholarship.

Like others of the Clements family, he was a talented athlete (see J.I. Clements, Jr – Georgia Southern Hall of Famer , Ray City Baseball) and among the NGC Cadets he earned the nickname “the Ray City Flash.”  He was a team manager for  the  NGC baseball team for one year, then played for three years, starting at second base.

The Nashville Herald
May 11, 1950

Donald Clements at Shortstop for North Georgia College Team

Donald Clements of Ray City, star second baseman for the Nashville Vols last season, is now playing shortstop for the North Georgia College team at Dahlonega, it was learned this week. He is leading the team in hitting with a .433 percentage in 14 games.

Young Clements was granted a scholarship to the Dahlonega school last summer because of his baseball ability.

When school is out later this month he plans to return to the Nashville team, possibly taking over shortstop which would send Marvin Roberts, present shortstop to third base to replace Jim Swindle who would go to the outfield, his regular position.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

 

Joseph Donald Clements played baseball for the North Georgia College Cadets.

Joseph Donald Clements played baseball for the North Georgia College Cadets.

Joe. D. Clements served as a manager for the 1950 North Georgia College baseball team.

Joe D. Clements served as a manager for the 1950 North Georgia College baseball team.

Joe D. Clements was a returning letterman on the 1952 North Georgia College baseball team.

Joe D. Clements was a returning letterman on the 1952 North Georgia College baseball team.

NAME Pos. Class No.
   Avery, Joe C.  C  Senior  12
*Coleman, Richard  C  Soph.  14
  Potter, George  D  Soph.  1
  Bird, Eddie B.  D  Soph.
  Bullard, Henry  D  Soph.  2
*Moore, Curtis  OF  Soph.  11
  Moran, Jack  1B  Soph.  3
*Davis, Royce  3B  Fres.  18
*Clements, Joe  2B  Senior  10
  Stocks, Tommy  SS  Soph.
*Warren, Buck  SS  Fres.  5
  Plunkett, Benson  3B  Fres.  22
*Anthony, Jimmy  OF  Soph.  15
  Bacon, Skeeter  OF  Fres.  20
  Mosely, Frank  OF  Senior  8
*Coleman, George  OF  Senior
*Sewell, Rip  P  Senior  4
  Cobb, Howard  P  Soph.
  Gudger, Robert  C  Soph.  16
  Edwards, Frank  P  Jr.  2
  Alexander, Jack  C  Soph.  19
*Starting Team
Joe D. Clements, of Ray City, GA and the 1953 North Georgia College Baseball Team

Joe D. Clements, of Ray City, GA and the 1953 North Georgia College Baseball Team

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1951 Beaverettes Couldn’t Miss; Boys Went Afoul at Homerville

Basketball became a part of Ray City School athletics at least as early as 1929. For the next 25 years, with the exception of the WWII years, Ray City teams shot hoops, until the county schools were consolidated in 1954.   According to the 1950-51 school year book, the Ray City School basketball teams played a 20 game season. The boys team was coached by Principal C.W. Schmoe, with A. C. Hesters as manager.

1950-51 Beaverettes, Ray City School girls basketball team, Ray City, GA

1950-51 Beaverettes, Ray City School girls basketball team, Ray City, GA

A clipping from the Clinch County News gives the story of the December 19, 1950 game against Homerville. Among the starters for the Ray City girls were Lullene Rouse, Patricia Bradford and Betty Jo Webb. The boys starting lineup included Curtis Skinner, Jack Knight and Wendell Clements.

Clinch County News
December 22, 1950

The [Homerville] girls played way below par in the Ray City game which was evidenced by the fact that they came out way behind their opponents when the final whistle blew.  The [Homerville] forwards played a good game, but Ray City’s beaverettes didn’t seem to be able to miss no matter what the angle which gave our [Homerville] guards a run for their money.

    The boy’s game was a comedy of errors if fouls are any indication of such a thing.  There were seventy-two fouls called in this game, Ray City’s whole first string going out on fouls. The local [Homerville] boys racked up a score of 62, but if they had played their usual kind of ball the score board probably would have run out of points. The line-ups were as follows:

GIRLS

Homerville
Pantherettes (34)

Ray City
Beaverettes (49)

Gilley, f 15
Blitch, f 9
F. Long, f 5
Newbern, g
Peagler, g
White, g

Bradford, f 9
Rouse, f 10
Webb, f 30
Barnwell, g
Futch, g
Sirmans, g

Substitutions: Homerville, O. Jeffords (2), N. Jeffords,
D.R. Thrift, Daugharty, Champion, Ann Long, and Gaskins.

BOYS

Homerville
Panthers (62)

Ray City
Beavers (49)

McQueen, f 7
Harper, f 21
Norris, c 10
Pickren, g 5
Hill, g 8

Moore, f 7
Skinner, f 6
Knight, c 5
Clements, g 2
Temples, g 3

Substitutions: Homerville, McDonald (9), Jones (2); 
Leviton, Minson, Rice, and Montgomery.  Ray City:
Allen (10), Williams (7),  Lee (2),  McClelland (3),
 Cornelius (4), Luke.

1950-51 Beavers, Ray City School boys basketball team, Ray City, GA

1950-51 Beavers, Ray City School boys basketball team, Ray City, GA. The school yearbook reported, “The Beavers finished their regular season with (14) fourteen wins and (6) defeats. The Beavers were led during the season by Jack Knight with (326) points, Billy Moore with (213) points, and Wendell Clements (130) points.”

Ray City School 1950-51 Basketball Schedule

Date Opponent Girls Boys
Pine Grove L 13-35 L 12-37
Enigma L 42-48 W 70-33
11-14 H Lakeland L 29-34 W 47-17
11-17 Naylor W 48-46 W 53-32
12-01 H Alapaha L 27-36 W 58-35
12-05 A Lakeland L 19-35 W 40-31
12-08 H Nashville L 37-51 L 48-64
12-12 A Willacoochee L 25-39 W 50-9
12-15 A Clyattville L 14-30 L 44-49
12-19 A Homerville W 49-34 L 49-62
01-06 H Pine Grove L 23-37 W 36-29
01-09 A Alapaha W 37-25 W 44-27
01-12 A Nashville L 31-47 L 30-37
01-19 H Clyattville W 20-16 W 56-43
01-30 A Enigma W 43-35 W 77-25
02-02 H Naylor W 24-23 W 39-20
02-06 H Homerville L 35-51 L 45-61
Willacoochee L 14-62 W 69-14
Poplar Springs W 36-35 W 88-31
Nashville L 39-47
Tournament Scores Girls Boys
Statenville W 50-28
Clyatteville W 53-22
Dasher L 29-54
Pine Grove L 45-56

If you would like to read a little more about the history of Ray City Basketball, see the Georgia High School Basketball Project.

J.I. Clements, Jr of Ray City ~ Georgia Southern Hall of Famer

J.I. Clements, Jr. was born and raised in Ray City, Georgia, a son of James I. Clements and Annie May Carter.  He attended Norman Junior College in Norman Park, GA, served in the Army during WWII, then completed his bachelor and masters degrees at Eastern Kentucky University.

After graduating, J.I. Clements joined the athletic department at Georgia Southern University as an assistant coach for the basketball team. At the time, his brother Mason Clements was playing third base for the Georgia Southern baseball team, and brother Keith Clements played center field.  J.I. Clements was five years older than Mason and was named head coach of the baseball team in 1949, Mason’s last season.

J.I. Clements was inducted into the Georgia Southern University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990.

J.I. Clements Bio

Courtesy: GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com
Release: 01/08/2008

Head Coach of Georgia Southern’s 1962 National Champion Baseball Team… Served as Coach, Athletic Business Manager and Athletic Director from 1948 until his death in 1984… Born November 26, 1920 in Ray City, Georgia; died October 25, 1984 in Atlanta… Received bachelor’s (1947) and master’s (1948) degrees from Easter Kentucky University… Was assistant basketball coach, 1948-62; athletic business manager, 1957-74, and athletic director 1967-74, but is best remembered as head baseball coach from 1949 through 1966 and again in 1968… Had career record of 320-205 and led Georgia Southern to four National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics District 25 championships… The 1962 squad’s national title was the first ever for a Georgia Southern team… Led GSC to second place finishes in 1960 and 1968, and a third place standing in 1964… Served as president of NAIA Baseball Coaches Association (1962-64) and was a member of the U.S. Olympic baseball Committee in 1964… Inducted into the U.S. Baseball Federation Hall of Fame and the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame… Was NAIA National ‘Coach of the Year’ in 1963… As administrator, led Georgia Southern from NAIA to NCAA Division II status in 1970 and to Division I level a year later… Eagle baseball, golf and tennis all represented school at NCAA I championship events during 1973-74 season… Named 1974 Georgia Sports ‘Administrator of the Year’ by Georgia Athletic Hall of Fame… Baseball Stadium was name in his honor in 1985.

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J.I. Clements, Jr. Goes to College

J.I. Clements, Jr. Class of 1948, Eastern Kentucky University.

J.I. Clements, Jr. Class of 1948, Eastern Kentucky University.

James Irwin Clements, Jr. was born November 26, 1920 in Ray City, Georgia, the son of James I. Clements and Annie May Carter.  His father and uncle Joe Clements ran the family business, the Clements Sawmill .

The Clements family was among the most prominent families in Ray City.  The Clements sawmill was the largest industry and largest employer in Ray City.  After the Clements sold the lumber business about 1923, J.I.’s father went into the retail grocery business.

In 1940, J.I. Clements Jr. attended Norman Junior College, at Norman Park, GA, where he was engaged in student government.

 

Atlanta Constitution
October 12, 1940

STUDENT OFFICER NAMED

NORMAN PARK, Ga., Oct 11. In a runover election yesterday, J.I. Clements Jr., of Ray City, was elected secretary-treasurer of the student body of Norman Junior College over Warren Horton of Lake Wales, Fla., runner-up, and Earl Swindel of Ray City.  Doyle Rentz, Norman Park, student president, and Brown Pinkston, Tifton, vice president, already have taken over their new posts.

Brand Hall at Norman College, Norman Park, GA

Brand Hall at Norman College, Norman Park, GA

On June, 8 1944 James I Clements Jr enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army.  At 23 years of age, he was married, five feet eight inches tall and weighed 190 pounds.  He had two years of college education and was employed in the category of “Athletes, sports instructors, and sports officials.” He enlisted at Fort McPherson, Atlanta, GA.

 After the war he returned to school, attending Eastern Kentucky University.  He played on the baseball team and was a member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education. He received a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education in 1947, and his master’s degree in 1948.

Eastern Kentucky University Baseball Team, 1949. First Row: Left to Right--Capt. Pete Nonnemacher, Roger Parsons, Jimmy Cinnamon, Dick Scherrbaum, Mac McCarty. Second Row: Left to Right--Lonnie Nelson, Howard Bartlett, Charles combs, Luther Wren, J. I. Clements, Jim Thompson, Coach "Turkey" Hughes, Manager Charles Spicer. Third Row: Left to Right--Don Newsom, Ted Dunn, Ed Lewicki, Ray Giltner, Goebel Ritter, Carl Eagle, Jack Meeks.

Eastern Kentucky University Baseball Team, 1949.

First Row: Left to Right–Capt. Pete Nonnemacher, Roger Parsons, Jimmy Cinnamon, Dick Scherrbaum, Mac McCarty.
Second Row: Left to Right–Lonnie Nelson, Howard Bartlett, Charles combs, Luther Wren, J. I. Clements, Jim Thompson, Coach “Turkey” Hughes, Manager Charles Spicer.
Third Row: Left to Right–Don Newsom, Ted Dunn, Ed Lewicki, Ray Giltner, Goebel Ritter, Carl Eagle, Jack Meeks.

Ray City, GA Women’s Hoops, 1934

Given public attitudes about women and sports, local school support for girl’s athletic teams in Ray City, GA seems downright progressive.  That progressive optimism was apparent in a 1934 Ray City ‘Booster’ article, which included information on the Ray City School.

Ray City, GA  has always taken pride in its athletic teams.  A Ray City School alumnus recalls the  hometown girl’s basketball team.

“We had a tremendous basketball team, and they’d win. They played basketball all over the county. There were a bunch of schools. I never played on the basketball team, but Edna Francis [Futch] did. Hazel Futch was one of their best players. That was in 1943. They just played on hard courts outside. Some of the places that they played had gyms. They didn’t build the gym at the Ray City School until after I left.”

1934 Ray City School - Girls Basketball Team (Left to Right) Front Row: Johnnie Sirmans, Grace Clements, Louise Paulk, Winona Holiday. Back Row: Helen DuBose, Clyde Carter, Jimmie Johnson, Helen Swindle, Virginia Studstill. Coach: Jesse Webb.

1934 Ray City School – Girls Basketball Team (Left to Right) Front Row: Johnnie Sirmans, Grace Clements, Louise Paulk, Winona Holiday. Back Row: Helen DuBose, Clyde Carter, Jimmie Johnson, Helen Swindle, Virginia Studstill. Coach: Jesse Webb.

While women’s basketball followed almost immediately upon the invention of the sport in1892, for many years there was strong resistance to women on the court.  The Women’s Sports Foundation gives this assessment of the opposition to women’s basketball in the 1930s.

As the game’s popularity grew, so did the backlash from educators concerned that the physical activity was unladylike, inappropriate and unhealthy. This seesaw battle of growth and resistance continued into the early ‘20s, but the balance shifted in 1923 when Lou Henry Hoover, head of Girl Scouts of America and wife of President Herbert Hoover, helped organize the Women’s Division of the National Amateur Athletic Federation (WDNAAF). In 1925, the WDNAAF passed a resolution outlawing extramural competition, opposing gate-receipts, all travel for women’s games and all publicity of women’s sports. The National Association of Secondary School Principals supported the resolution and they, in turn, pressured high school sports associations to disband tournaments. By the mid-‘30s, competitive basketball at elementary, high school and college level in many states had all but disappeared.

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1914 Box Ball Alley ~ Mayhaw Lake at Rays Mill, GA

In the early 1900s, Box Ball was a popular arcade game that was sweeping the country.  In 1914, box ball made its way to Ray City, GA.  An advertisement appearing in a 1914 Berrien County, GA newspaper promoted a new amusement park and and attractions at Ray’s Mill (now know as Ray City).  The Mayhaw Lake Amusement Park was a business operated by Elias Moore “Hun” Knight.

MAYHAW LAKE AT RAYS MILL, GA – Mayhaw lake is located 1-2 from Rays Mill and is now open. For outings, picnics and amusements, it can’t be excelled in South Georgia. – A fine bathing pool supplied with fine Sulphur water, one of the best Skating Rinks and Box Ball Allers in this Section.  Cold drinks, hot lunches at all hours during day and night; also a good base ball diamond open to visiting teams for match games. – The Georgia & Florida Railroad will give special rates for picnic parties from all points on their line. – For Special Rates apply to T.E. Harris, Commercial Agent Ga. & Fla., Valdosta, Ga. – E.M. Knight, Prop. – Ray’s Mill, Georgia.

Box ball alleys were manufactured by the American Box Ball Company (Holcomb &  Hoke). The company website provides the following information:

Box ball was a modified version of bowling, using smaller balls in knocking down five pins set horizontally across a wooden alley. Lanes were portable and available in three sizes, providing for quick and easy installation in amusements parks, bars and other entertainment venues both big and small. Purchase of American Box Ball Company in 1903 prompted Holcomb & Hoke’s relocation to Indianapolis, Indiana. Fueled by the cross-country success of their fledgling business, the two men built their first manufacturing facility in 1906. Demand for the game remained steady for the next seven years, at which time they concluded that the box ball market was nearly saturated.

E.M. Knight must have regarded box ball alleys as a good investment.  He may have been able to acquire a used alley, or perhaps he purchased direct from the manufacturer.  A 1914 ad touted the potential profits of a box ball alley operation.

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