Paris lost a dear friend last week when Eddie Clement left this world to join the saints in heaven. His generosity, his servant heart and his love of God, church and family all are part of the legacy he leaves behind.
Born in 1965, Eddie grew up in Duncanville and played soccer for Duncanville High School, where he graduated in 1983. He graduated from University of Texas-Arlington in 1990 with a business management degree and joined the Frank Homer Sr. family when he married Monica Homer in 1994. The couple moved to Paris in 2000 after Eddie joined the family Sonic business and became operations manager for its Paris operations. He and brother-in-law, Mark Homer, became partners in the business after the death of the family monarch.
“He was the greatest partner, friend and golfing buddy that a guy could ever want,” Homer said. “He willingly shouldered a lot of the burden of the business to allow me to serve my community in the state legislature, and I will be forever grateful. Eddie saw the importance of community involvement through Dad, and he carried that mantle almost to a fault.”
Eddie’s service to the Denver Pyle Charities, the Boys & Girls Club and the Paris Wildcat Booster Club knew no boundaries. His long list of community involvement activities, both monetary and volunteer, include Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, Tour de Paris, Meals on Wheels, Knights of Columbus, Crime Stoppers, the American Red Cross, the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce, Men’s Golf Association, Paris Golf & Country Club and most recently the Lamar National Bank board of directors.
Paris tourism director Becky Semple talked about Eddie and Monica’s long-time support of Tour de Paris. For many years, the Clements and their children, and Mark Homer and his family, took care of an annual afterparty for cyclists, staff members and volunteers.
“Eddie and Mark would cook hamburgers out in the heat, and Monica and her team of volunteers would run the service line,” Semple said. “The cyclists all were so appreciative, and several said they came to the tour mainly because of the hamburgers.”
It was Eddie’s generosity, his uplifting personality, his laughter, his hamburgers, his abilities as a disc jockey and his support of all things Paris, Texas, for which friends remember him most.
“He was one of the best men I have ever met in my life,” Paris Wildcat athletic trainer/assistant athletic director Chad Helberg said with a quivering voice. “I can’t tell you how many times I have called him to Paris High to help motivate our athletes. As part of the Wildcat Booster Club crew, he cooked for the tailgate celebration at every home game. He would crank up his music to get the kids pumped up. Our coaches nicknamed him Fast Eddy because every time you saw him he was going 100 miles an hour doing something for the kids.”
Athletic secretary Nancy Morgan said Eddie was “the kindest, funniest, most giving man. There was never a time we couldn’t ask for help with one program or another that he wouldn’t jump into the middle of it, with no questions asked. I can still see him with his DJ equipment cranking up music, giggling and laughing.”
Paris High golf coach Randall Lewis credits Eddie with a change in the way high school coaches hold tournaments, and lauded his friend for being a part of a successful golf program.
“I don’t know how I would have made it without Eddie,” Randall said. “His generosity made it possible for me to raise money for the golf team, and he has given so much of his time. Because Eddie provided food for all athletics at our golf tournaments, he changed the way our district holds tournaments. It used to be they only fed the coaches; but we changed that thanks to Eddie.”
Paris National Bank President Greg Wilson remembers Eddie dressed as Pee Wee Herman at the Can Can follies, and as a disc jockey at a Halloween party dressed as Cher with Monica dressed as Sonny.
“He loved to laugh, and everyone liked to laugh with him,” Wilson said. “His laughter resonates in my ears, and I hope it never goes away. Everyone who knew him, liked him. What a legacy to leave.”
I agree with veterinarian Wally Kraft that Eddie’s absence leaves a void in this community, one that will be impossible to fill.
“Paris will not be the same without Eddie Clement,” Kraft said. He gave from his heart, never asking anything in return. I will miss him every day. He dearly loved Monica and his children, the Homer family and the Sonic Drive-In. And, he loved Paris, Texas.”