Clarence Waters joined the Daffodil Valley Kiwanis Club in 1963 and has been a member ever since. He was honored for his 50 years of service to the club during a recent dinner and ceremony at Charlie’s Restaurant in downtown Puyallup.
Waters never missed a Kiwanis meeting and usually was the first person to arrive. He spearheaded many projects for the club, and one of his favorites was the maintenance of the Triangle Park on 2nd Street Northeast and East Main in downtown Puyallup. Waters organized work parties to keep the grounds clean.
Fellow Kiwanian Charlie Nordeck said Waters initiated that park and always got a crew together to do the work.
But Waters was a stickler for detail and neatness.
“One year, we planted 100 daffodil bulbs, and then Clarence didn’t like that because, when the daffodils weren’t in bloom, he wanted them clipped off,” Nordeck said.
In honor of his years of service, Waters was presented with the Kiwanian of the Year award.
And to further honor him, the Daffodil Valley Kiwanis Club renamed it the Clarence P. Waters Kiwanian of the Year award.
Waters was among the first members 50 years ago, and Nordeck said he started one of the club’s major fundraisers called the Travelogue Series. Nordeck described it as an event in which travelers who were filmmakers came in to show and narrate a film about their adventures.
“It was very popular,” Nordeck said. “We sold season tickets, and Clarence was the emcee. He loved to get up in front of the crowd and introduce the speakers.”
That event raised between $3,500 and $5,000 a year before it was discontinued — money that was used to award scholarships to local students.
Waters also started the strawberry waffle and ham dinner that was held for years at a church. That dinner also raised money that was used for scholarships.
Failing health has kept Waters from attending meetings.
“He will always be a Kiwanian,” said his wife, Susanne. “I’ve seen the enthusiasm he has for Kiwanis. It was his heart.”
Waters was touched by the award. With tears in his eyes, he said: “Thank you. If you want to make your life better, join Kiwanis.”
As he traveled for his job, Waters said he would visit fellow Kiwanis clubs and always found the members to be friendly and welcoming.
Scott Thompson, a teacher at Sumner High School, has been a club member since 1996.
“You can’t be a member of the club and not have Clarence influence you,” Thompson said.
“He was always the first to arrive at meetings and was super supportive to kids,” Thompson added. “He worked hard on Triangle Park and weeded and set up work parties. We would plan to meet at 8 a.m., and Clarence would already be working by the time we got there.”
Daffodil Valley Kiwanis Club President Nancy Nordeck presented Waters with the award.
“When I hear of the greatest generation, I will think of Clarence,” she said.
Joan Cronk is a freelance reporter for the Herald.