Clinton H. Ware Obituary, 2001

Clinton H. Ware, 59, one of Salem County’s most respected citizens – a freeholder for more than a quarter-century, a Woodstown educator who coached the high school’s football team for 34 years, and a high school and university football star in his younger years – died Wednesday at his Salem home.

He died of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

A lifelong Salem resident who was born in Bridgeton, Mr. Ware was a Democratic freeholder for 26 years before he stepped down in October and was replaced by his brother Lee R. Ware – as Mr. Ware had requested.

“He was that rare individual who can address all the needs and concerns of people,” said Ben Timberman, a former Salem County freeholder and Mr. Ware’s longtime running mate. “He was one of the most respected people in the county. He put the people of Salem County first on any issue.”

Mr. Ware was a part-time farmer for most his life, and “on issues pertaining to farming, we deferred to Clint,” Timberman said. “He was a prime mover for our farmland-preservation program,” which was started in the early 1980s.

It is one of the state’s top programs today, Timberman said.

Mr. Ware also cared deeply about juvenile-justice programs. He helped bring about the Juveniles in Need of Supervision program and was instrumental in pushing the development of juvenile-care facilities, Timberman said. He added that during Mr. Ware’s tenure, in the 1970s, the freeholder board also started a Meals on Wheels program.

Early in his political career, Mr. Ware served six years on the Salem City Council.

Mr. Ware retired from teaching in June 1999 after 37 years, but returned to Woodstown High School in the fall of 1999 to coach the football team for one last season when his nephew, Richie Ware, was the senior quarterback.

Mr. Ware started at Woodstown as a biology teacher and taught the subject for about 15 years before becoming a guidance counselor.

Lee Ware, also a Woodstown educator, recalled that his brother “had stacks and stacks of letters from students and former players,” all detailing how he had changed their lives.

As head football coach, he compiled a 164-139-10 record, finishing the 1999 season with a 6-4 mark and a berth in the South Jersey Group 2 playoffs.

In 1988 and 1989, his teams went 8-2. In each season, both loses came against an opponent – Delsea in 1988 and Salem in 1989 – that would reach the South Jersey Group 2 final. In 1984, his team went 9-2 and was South Jersey Group 2 cochampion.

But “his career record pales in comparison to his worth to both students and staff,” said Woodstown High’s athletic director, Glenn Merkle. “He was a gentleman’s gentleman, and he was a father figure to everybody, even coaches older than himself.”

A 1959 graduate of Salem High School, Mr. Ware earned three varsity letters in football as a halfback, three letters as a point guard in basketball, and two letters as a shortstop and second baseman in baseball.

On the football field, he was part of a one-two backfield that in his junior year led the team to an 8-1 record and a share of the Group 2 title. Mr. Ware scored 58 points that season.

Majoring in biology, he was a 1963 graduate of the University of Delaware, where he played on the football team that won the 1962 Lambert Cup.

Mr. Ware, a Middle Atlantic Conference University Division second team all-star, played offense and defense and led the team in interceptions with four and in touchdowns with seven.

His most outstanding game was the 1962 season opener against Lehigh University, in which he had three interceptions and scored two touchdowns.

After college, he played semipro baseball with the Penton Cubs for 20 years.

Mr. Ware received his master’s degree in guidance from Glassboro State College, now Rowan University.

He was in the first group of inductees into the Salem County Sports Hall of Fame in December and was inducted into the South Jersey Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1991.

At his final game as Woodstown’s football coach, the school district renamed the field in his honor and presented Mr. Ware and his wife with an all-expenses-paid vacation. The ceremonies at the Thanksgiving Day game against Salem included appearances by a representative of each of his 34 teams.

He was a member of the South Jersey Coaches Association, the National and New Jersey Educational Associations, and the Salem County Retired Educators Association.

In addition to his brother, he is survived by his wife of 37 years, Barbara Spicer Ware; a son, Stephen; a daughter, Traci W. Bell; two grandsons; and his mother, Minnie P.

Friends may call after 9 a.m. today at the H.T. Layton & Son Home for Funerals, 102 S. Main St., Woodstown, where funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Lawnside Cemetery, Pilesgrove.

Memorial contributions may be made to Ranch Hope for Boys, Box 325, Alloway, N.J. 08001; to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Salem County, South Main Street, Woodstown, N.J. 08098; or to the Elsinboro Fire and Ambulance Company, Salem, N.J. 08079.

S. Joseph Hagenmayer’s e-mail address is

Source:  Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) – Monday, January 8, 2001

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