Richard Evans Clyde, 92, a lifelong resident of Whidbey Island and a well-respected Langley businessman, died peacefully at home on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018 with his daughter and son by his side.
Rich was born on Sept. 29, 1925. He was blessed with an idyllic childhood growing up on Whidbey during the Great Depression and was an important part of the growth and development of the Langley community for most of his life.
As a Boy Scout he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, earning his swimming merit badge by swimming from Langley to Camano Island. During high school he worked at his father’s garage, Clyde Motors, and frequently ran the projectors at the Clyde Theatre, where he affectionately called the small room with the carbon-arc projectors the “Hot Box.”
Due to World War II gas rationing, the teenager was limited in the amount of gasoline available for his Ford Model A, but he discovered a 50/50 mix of stove oil and gas worked just fine if you didn’t mind the trail of black smoke.
Rich graduated from Langley High School in 1943, and at the age of 17 immediately enlisted in the Navy Air Corps. He served in the South Pacific as a tail gunner and radio operator on a Grumman Avenger Torpedo Bomber. He returned after his service to work at his father Norm Clyde’s garage at the corner of First and Anthes in Langley. He soon purchased Clyde Motors and owned it until his retirement in 1988.
In 1950, while visiting Texas, Rich met Juanita Shaffer of Comanche, Texas. Love ensued, and they were married on Nov. 4, 1950. In 1954 their son Joe was born. Daughter Jane arrived in 1956.
Rich’s business flourished as he was an excellent mechanic and trustworthy. He believed strongly in personal responsibility but was a soft touch when it came to giving a hand to those who he saw needed it.
He sold Clyde Motors in 1988 and Juanita closed Granny’s Attic, the antique store she had up above the garage. Rich looked forward to enjoying his retirement with Juanita. Unfortunately, after nearly 39 wonderful years together, Juanita passed away in 1989.
Rich met Audrey Brown and they were wed in 1995. For the next 20 years they found great entertainment in vintage cars and in travel. He was a longtime member of a Chevrolet owners club.
Rich was preceded in death by his parents, Norman and Hazel Clyde, and his brother Pat Clyde. He is survived by his twin sisters Joye Church and Judy Howell; his son Joe of Langley; daughter Jane Morgan (Eifion) of Brecon, Wales; grandchildren Amelia Clyde, Lydia Cox and Andria Morgan and his great-grandchildren, Connie, Bronwen and Idris.
At Rich’s request no services will be held. Memorials may be made to Whidbey Animals Improvement Fund (WAIF), 60 Rhododendron Park Road, Coupeville, WA 98239.