Commonwealth Journal

February 13, 2014

Longtime city clerk Clarence Love dead at 97

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — A former Somerset city clerk and one of the most respected officials in the history of Somerset City Hall has died.

Clarence E. Love died at 1:20 p.m. yesterday in the Hospice Wing at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital. He was 97.

Love and his wife of 75 years both went to work for Somerset city government in January 1955; Clarence as city clerk and Mabel as manager of the Somerset Sewer Department and city assessor. Prior to being hired at city hall, Clarence worked for Ben S. Mattingly.

Mabel said then-Mayor Jesse Wilson called her shortly after Clarence went to work as city clerk and asked if she could come to city hall.

“We only have one car,” Mabel remembers telling the mayor. Wilson sent a city police car to get her and asked if she would take the jobs of managing the Sewer Department and city assessor. She agreed.

Somerset’s corporate limits at that time encircled a mile, Mabel remembers. Mayor Wilson took Clarence and her in his car and showed them the boundaries, she said.

Her job as manager of the sewer department started off roughly. “Bonds became due and the city didn’t have the money to pay,” she said.

“I told Bob Sidwell and Bud Trimble, employees of the Sewer Department, to go door to door and collect sewer bills,” Mabel remembers. “We got the money and paid off the bonds. That never happened again,” she said.

Clarence Love was respected at Somerset City Hall for his honesty and ability. His advice and counsel were sought and accepted. He had a contract to collect taxes for the Somerset Independent School District.

Love was a friend of the news media. He believed in open government. When a reporter had a question, he or she sought Love for an answer. He always spoke candidly about city business.

Love retired from city hall January 6, 1984 after 29 years as city clerk. Retirement allowed him to spend time on the golf course, his favorite hobby.

Love lived life to the fullest. He brought his golf cart home when he was 96 after finally deciding “I’m too old to play,” and continued to use the cart to check on rental properties and for other chores.

His terminal illness was brief. Mabel said his doctor called January 20 and told him the news was not good. He was admitted him to the Somerset hospital and died yesterday afternoon.

Love’s body is at Somerset Undertaking Company. Mabel said his funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Somerset First Baptist Church. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until funeral time.