INDEPENDENCE, Mo. —
Clete Grider passed away Feb. 18, 2014, following a brief illness, at age 87, in his home in Independence, Mo.
A private memorial service will be scheduled at a later time.
He was born on July 22, 1926, near Greenfield, Mo., to Nora McVey Grider and Leslie E. Grider. Clete and lived the early part of his life in Columbia and Joplin, Mo. He skipped several grades in school, graduating at age 15 from Joplin High School. He attended junior college until 1944, when he entered the U.S. Navy, assigned to bases in Norfolk, Va., and Newport, R.I., then served on the USS Navasota until 1946. After the service, he returned to Joplin, and worked as a mechanic in his father's Harley-Davidson and Hudson dealerships. From 1948 to 1953, Clete won 28 trophies riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles in off-the-road competitions, culminating with winning the 1953 Missouri State Championship Endurance Run. In 1954, he went to work for Hallmark Cards, first as a salesman, later in management positions with Hallmark at its headquarters in Kansas City. He retired after 28 years in 1982. He had three children from a first marriage to Mary Sue Farrell, then married Zada Anne Pement Leibold, an RN, in December 1975. Following retirement, Clete and Zada went to Haiti with health teams sponsored by RLDS Church missions numerous times from 1977 to 1989. They volunteered as counselors from 1981 to 1986 at summer camps for developmentally disabled and abused children. In 1987, they traveled to Israel with the Volunteers for Israel organization, spending four weeks working for the Israeli Army near Be'er Sheba. Clete returned alone in 1988 for a tour of duty at Camp Mansura near the Lebanon border. An avid chess player, Clete played in tournament chess competitions throughout the U.S. His greatest chess success was winning the 1986 Class C Missouri State Championship. In addition to chess, he enjoyed oil painting, reading and using his Mac computer.
Clete's wife, Zada, preceded him in death in 2011.
He is survived by daughters, Terri Grider (Michael) Kent and Connie Grider, both of Denver, Colo.; son, Thomas Grider, of Joplin; grandsons, Max Bernstein and Matthew Kent; brother, Leslie M. Grider, Cherry Valley, Calif.; and four nieces and nephews.
Arrangements are under the direction of Carson Speaks Chapel, Independence, 816-252-7900.
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