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July 10, 1922 ~ January 16, 2014

James Kenneth Clough passed away suddenly at Methodist West Hospital in West Des Moines, Iowa, on January 16, 2014. He was a long-time resident of rural Kellerton, Iowa.

Funeral services are scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, February 9, 2014 at Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home of Mount Ayr, Iowa.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, February 06, 2014

James Kenneth Clough was born on July 10, 1922, near Blackmore Corner in the town of Ellston, Iowa. He was the son of Harold Frederick and Dora Annabelle (McMillan) Clough. James passed away on Thursday, January 16, 2014, in West Des Moines, Iowa, at the age of 91 years.

His parents, family, and friends called him Kenneth and Kenny. Later in life he was known as Jim. He was raised in the Ellston area until the family moved to Denver, Colorado, for a few years before returning to Iowa.

James began school in a rural one-room school house and later attended school at the Kellerton School in Kellerton, Iowa. He graduated from Kellerton High School in 1940. He left Iowa for Dayton, Ohio, where he attended and graduated from an airplane mechanic school at Patterson Field.

He proudly served his country as a Navy Aviation Machinist Mate, 3rd Class. His was sent to boot camp at Farragut Navy Base near Sandpoint, Idaho. He was then stationed at Miramar Naval Station north of San Diego, California, and was later deployed during World War II to the South Pacific Theater working on airplanes on make-shift air strips throughout the islands, such as the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, and the Mariana Islands to mention a few. He returned to San Diego and later was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, returning to San Diego, where he was discharged.

During this time, James made a trip back to Iowa to visit his family. It was the middle of winter, and he rode his Harley Davidson there and back to San Diego. He often shared details of this memorial trip with family and friends, telling of how icicles formed on his bike and his face and body. He believed this trip, while seemingly strange to some, was something he could look back at as one of his great adventures of youth.

While serving in the Navy in San Diego, he met the love of his life, Frances Martha Dominguez. On June 8, 1947, he was united in marriage to Frances Martha Dominguez in Chula Vista, California.

While living for a time in San Diego, he worked as an aviation sheet metal mechanic on the Liberator B24A airplane at Consolidated Aircraft and also as a block ice deliveryman to the wealthy on Coronado Island in San Diego.

He and Frances then moved to the town of Kellerton, Iowa, with her three daughters, Barbara Ann Porterfield, Carol Jean Shaffer, and Elinore Louise Shaffer. He joined his father, Harold, in farming and dairy cows. He also learned how to repair something new to the world televisions.

Another daughter, Judy Kay Clough, and a son, James Francis Clough, joined the family. Shortly thereafter, they all moved to a farm north of Kellerton on the Beaconsfield Road, where he and Frances had another son, Jon Jay Clough, and remained until her passing on December 6, 1999, and his move to Waukee to live with Jon in March of 2012.

James became a self-taught electrical contractor, as well as a farmer and raising feeder cattle. He called his contracting business, Clough Electric. He was one of the first in the area to work on the new Harvestors, where he designed, developed, and implemented a livestock feeding system leading from the Harvestors to the feedlot. Harvestor was impressed with his system and asked him to travel around the U.S. for them. He politely declined, as he did not want to leave his home and family.

James' last big electrical job was to design, layout, and supervise the installation of the electrical and alarm systems in the new Kellerton Fire Station. All this when he was in his 80's. He was very proud that he was the architect of those systems. He passed his electrical contracting knowledge and work ethic to his both his sons.

James had a passion for politics and enjoyed writing and talking about subjects that he believed were important to the future of the country he loved. He wrote many letters to the editors for regional newspapers, spoke on radio talk shows, and often corresponded with Iowa's Congressmen. These Congressmen, particularly Senator Chuck Grassley, came to know him and his ideas, which led to shared correspondence, a number of phone conversations and discussions after Town Hall Meetings. He was a true American patriot and was proud of that fact. He was also a member of the American Legion for 65 years.

James favorite household possession was his radio, which he listened to for many hours every day. This lifetime habit was and will continue to be a topic of humorous conversations within the family, as he loved his radio.

One event that he cherished was his trip to Prague, Czech Republic, that his granddaughter, Hilary Swank, planned for his and his daughter/her mother, Judy's, birthdays. While there, Hilary arranged to have them be in her movie, Affair of the Necklace. James was given the role of a disbarred French barrister, who was jailed in the Bastille. In costume, he truly looked the part, and thoroughly enjoyed playing the role. He later was told that his scenes, as they say in the entertainment business, were left on the cutting room floor and would not be in the released film. They did print a book depicting the film's story, including photos from the movie. He was quite pleased to discover that there was a photo of a scene with him in the background.

James was preceded in death by his wife, Frances, his parents, Harold and Dora, his sons-in-law, Dean Newton and David Gene Butcher, a grandson, Randy Butcher, a step-granddaughter, Patty Pavolich, and a great-granddaughter, Hanna Swank.

Left to cherish his memory are his three children, Judy Kay Swank and her significant other, Mark Redick of Playa del Rey, California, James F. Clough and his wife Kathy of Milan, Missouri, and Jon J. Clough and his wife, Patricia; his three stepdaughters, Barbara Newton of Mora Minnesota, Carol Butcher of Hoquiam, Washington, and Elinore (Ellie) Birk and her husband, Arthur (Bud) of Las Vegas, Nevada; his two sisters, Mary Ann Clough of Kingston, New York, and Sara Mae Reese of Lindale, Texas; grandchildren, Daniel Swank, Hilary Swank, and Dana Clough; stepgrandchildren Roger Newton, Jonni Paulsen, Terri Staege, Patricia Burns, Carol Earley, Sherri Savelli, Rick Comer, Pamela Patton, Penny Laurae, Jeanne Parrish, Shannon Birk-Drewyor, Tim Hatfield & family, Jamey Lewis & family, and Jeremy Lewis & family; numerous great-grandchildren, stepgreat-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and other family members.

Services are to be held at the Watson & Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr, Iowa, on Saturday, February 8, 2014, with Pastor Kathy Johnston officiating. Musical selections will be "Daddy's Hands," "Save a Place for Me," his daughter singing "Paloma Blanca," a favorite Spanish song of his and his wife, Frances, which he requested be sung at his services, and "Welcome Home."

Honorary pallbearers are the Kellerton American Legion Post #676 with the U.S. Navy Honor Guard performing the military ceremony. Flag folding and taps will be done by the U.S. Navy Honor Guard.

James will be cremated and laid to rest at the Maple Row Cemetery in Kellerton, along with his beloved wife, Frances, and next to his father and mother.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2014

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