Tonight before the High Point Neighborhood Association meets (6 pm, High Point Library), members of its Pedestrian Safety Committee plan a walking tour with City Council President Nick Licata. One of the recent tragedies that concern this group and other West Seattle residents is the accident at 35th/Othello on October 27th that killed longtime area resident and educator/engineer/inventor Oswald Clement. His memorial is now set for next Wednesday (11/14) at St. James Cathedral, according to friend and former student Sharon Stone, who has written an obituary to tell us all more about Mr. Clement and his life, which ended just two days short of his 86th birthday:
Oswald Elmer Arthur Clement
Born: October 30th, 1921
Died: October 28th, 2007
Mr. Oswald Elmer Arthur Clement was born in Belgaum, Bombay Province, India. He later applied to become a British citizen, which was granted him in 1966. He lived in London as a young man, working his way through school to earn a university degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
He had an agile mind and loved to solve problems. He applied for, and was granted, a United Kingdom patent for the creation of the Typist’s Copy Holder, a small stand to hold documents upright next to a typewriter, so the typist could easily read the text as they typed.
He began his U.S. career in New York, working various jobs. He met Miss Alice Cochran, an Irish woman trained as a teacher while in New York, and they shared an interest in moving to Seattle. Once here, they both found work; her as a teacher in a private school; him as an Aeronautical Engineer at Boeing. However, in the mid-1960s, he left Boeing and together they founded the Little Folk Montessori School in West Seattle.
It is my mother’s recollection that theirs was the first Montessori school in West Seattle. Miss Cochran had been working for a private school, when, at Mr. Clement’s urging, she started her own school. He suggested that he would be both part financier and her co-teacher, to help get the school off the ground. An innovative and gifted educator, Mr. Clement was dedicated to the learning and personal growth of each student; his devotion to education was extraordinary. While it was not his intention to keep teaching, he discovered he loved the education process, and teaching children, and he never returned to engineering.
They had two Montessori schools together in West Seattle, and enjoyed many years of success, teaching hundreds of West Seattle children the basics of a grade school education, as well as individual instruction in music, art, and etiquette. After Miss Cochran passed away in 1988, he closed the school but continued to give private music lessons to West Seattle children at his home. He himself played both the piano and violin.
He was a regular Metro bus rider, and rarely a day went by that he was not seen riding the #21. Until the day he died, he went downtown several times a week to work out at the YMCA, as well as check e-mail at the Seattle Public Library. He also had a long history of eating his evening meals at the St James Cathedral Kitchen, where he made many new friends, and will be greatly missed.
Mr. Clement was a blessing to all who knew him. A man of exceptional character and intelligence, warmth, loyalty and positive opinion. He was a true friend and a delightful and welcome guest at gatherings and events in the lives of former students and his many friends. He was inspirational to all with his love of learning and by living his daily life in accordance with his principles.
Mr. Clement lives on in his family, friends and each of his students. He is survived by his sister, Adelaide who resides in Portugal; his brother, Lamarck and, sister-in-law, Leta, who live in England, & many nieces and nephews in several countries.
All who knew him are invited to come celebrate his life at a Memorial at St James Cathedral, in downtown Seattle, on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 at 3:30 pm. There will be a reception following at the St. James Cathedral Kitchen, with cake and many memories to share.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Harborview Medical Center, or the Cathedral Kitchen at St James Cathedral.