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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Othello community leader killed

 (The Spokesman-Review)

Adams County Sheriff’s officials are searching for the drivers of two cars that struck an Othello community leader who died Tuesday morning.

Former Othello City Councilman Lester L. Clemons, 89, was killed when he was hit about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday near his Othello residence, said Adams County Sheriff Doug Barger in a press release. He had just crossed the street to get his newspaper when he was struck by a car that didn’t stop.

While another motorist called for help, another vehicle struck Clemons and fled. Soon after, a third car also struck Clemons, but this driver remained at the scene and assisted, Barger said. Darkness and fog may have been factors.

The first car that hit Clemons was described as a late 1980s or early 1990s Nissan Maxima or Stanza that was maroon or burgundy. The second fleeing vehicle is believed to have been a white van or minivan.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Adams County Sheriff’s Office at (509) 488-2061.

Family members and colleagues said despite his age, Clemons was as outgoing as ever, especially in activities that benefited his church, his community or agriculture.

Just seven years ago, Clemons, a retired seed company salesman, applied for and later won a patent for a wheel that makes seed planting easier. He ran for and won a four-year term on the Othello City Council in 1997.

Former Mayor E.R. Kelley said Clemons always was interested in the long-term picture.

“He didn’t let his age interfere with anything he did,” Kelley said. “He was very, very interested in good government for the community and for the advancement of the community in general.”

Clemons was active in the effort to improve the Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway, a designation given to a stretch of highway between Othello and Omak, aimed improving tourism. He especially was interested in creating an Othello interpretive center about the corridor, and was helping to organize the annual byway celebration that will be held Saturday in Soap Lake, said the corridor’s facility project coordinator, Teri Pieper.

“He stands up for what he believes in and works for it,” Pieper said. “He was a person that people paid attention to.”

After seeing the results of a recent heart test, doctors told him he had the health of a 30-year-old, said his granddaughter Katie Clemons, who lives in Spokane.

“They thought there had been a mix up. That’s how healthy he was,” Katie Clemons said. “He was not old in any way.”

Clemons’ wife of 64 years, Dorothy “Dot” Clemons, died in December. He is survived by five children, 11 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.