June 12, 2004

Willie McClister Passed Away June 11

Willie McClister in 1974I got a phone call Friday afternoon from Willie McClister's ex-girl friend, Kerry Durrell. She said Willie passed away that day. A couple of months ago Kerry had told me that Willie's health was failing, so I wasn't surprised to get Friday's call. He was 52.

I had known Willie since I was a kid going to St. Didacus grade school on 34th Street in Normal Heights. I actually knew his older brother Mickey better back then. Years later I got to know Willie pretty well when we both ended up in Sta-Power, a pyramid marketing system I wrote about in Wednesday's article remembering my friend Jim Leeper.

When I wrote about Jim, I didn't mention that he grew up in Normal Heights, just like me, because I never knew him there. Jim lived on Copley Avenue, though, right across from the convent at Our Lady of Peace. I'm not sure where the McClisters lived, but they also were in Normal Heights somewhere and ended up going to Hoover High School with Jim, while I went to St. Augustine.

Willie, Jim and I all turned up together in 1972 in Sta-Power, where Willie was in Jim's organization and I was in Frank Kloberdanz's. After Our Sta-Power days ended, I saw Willie at the Over-the-Line Tournament in 1974, where I shot this photo of him, then I don't think I saw him again until 15 or 20 years later when I ran into him at a Greek restaurant we both frequented. He was working then as a limo driver for a place near the restaurant.

We started hanging out together occasionally, but we never really had been close friends, and we never really did become close. We just saw each other once in awhile, until he moved a few years back and I lost touch with him. Willie did call me one Sunday morning a year or two ago to be sure I was home. He said he was on a health kick and was going to ride his bike from someplace like Lemon Grove to my house. He never showed up, though, and I never heard from him again.

Posted at 6:48 AM in DMG's Friends, In Memoriam