Gray Gardner: RIP: Clarence Manheim, 82nd Airborne Division

Story by Gray Gardner

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Clarence Manheim passed-away on Friday. The Funeral was held last weekend at Polly’s, east on Hwy 10, and he will be buried at their new Cemetery at Hwy 10 and Vibbard Road, Excelsior Springs, Missouri.

We attended the University of Missouri together in 1956.I was Best Man at both Clarence’s,and later Dean’s Weddings.

Here’s my favorite story about Clarence and the Coastside. He was leaving for his second tour in Vietnam, either 1969 or 70, and he spent a few days with us.I remember it was Thanksgiving; we ate Thanksgiving dinner at our favorite. Chinese restaurant,  with the  Formica counter, Chinese menu and no Tourists. And we ordered turkey and rice, instead of our regular pork chops & rice.

We went down to the Miramar Beach Inn the next night. It was called  the “Shelter” then, after being the “Spouter Inn” before that. There was a large “Peace Flag” behind the Band, and you could get stoned just walking in.The bands were composed of mosty flutes and tambourines.

Clarence was outfitted in his Full-Dress 82nd Airborne Division Uniform, Spit-Shned Boots, Epaulets,and Beret. When Clarence stepped into the room, it was a “ John Wayne Moment”,The Band and the voices stopped, dead;  most eyes were Bugged- Out, all the Hippies in the room were in a state of shock. At that moment the three “Hard Hat Divers,” at the bar stood up, hoisted Clarence on their sholders and carried him to the Bar. Not a word was uttered by any Hippie the rest of the night.

I’m trying to get in touch with Dean Russell, I know he is in Kansas somewhere,do you have any information?

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