Ray Clinton was laid to rest this week. The longtime Sikeston businessman died a week ago leaving behind a host of family and friends.
It's really unfair to call Ray Clinton a businessman. He was so much more. He was a quiet leader and benevolent citizen of our community. But even that does not touch the impact that this one man had on Sikeston.
Mr. Clinton used his success to help the community he loved and the projects he adopted. His footprints can be found on countless businesses and charities and institutions in Sikeston and the surrounding area.
But even those tributes don't fully explain the lasting generosity of this great man. It was his spirit, his contagious smile and his positive outlook that will always define his time on this Earth.
If any young man is looking for a path to success, they would do well to follow the lead adopted by Ray Clinton. He believed in giving back to his community and his fellow man and he practiced what he preached.
I'll never know if leaders are born that way or are driven that way. It matters little. For Ray Clinton, there was simply no other way to conduct his life. His word was respected and for good reason. He said what he meant, he meant what he said and each day of his life he lived his principles and his integrity.
Mr. Clinton was named Man of the Year back in 1993. And in some ways, that lofty award was just too little, too late to accurately recognize his impact on Sikeston. And in accepting that award in typical fashion, he gave credit to others. He always did.
Don't even pretend you can replace a Ray Clinton. Instead, thank the good Lord that he was given to our community and hold him fondly in your memories.
Time has a way of eroding our memories of those leaders who provided the foundation for our future. But Ray Clinton left lasting memories that will help to carry us far into the future.
Some of us sincerely hope to some day follow in his footsteps. But we can never fill those shoes.