US Navy

Richard Merle Claymon

July 2, 1940 ~ September 1, 2020 (age 80)


Salem-Richard “Dick” Merle Claymon died on September 1, 2020. He was always curious about what lies in store for us after we die. Now he knows.

Dick was born on July 2, 1940, in Eureka, Illinois. He grew up in El Paso, Illinois, and entered military service in October of 1959. He served as a Navy Corpsman in the Marines. His service included active duty during the Bay of Pigs, Guantanamo, Cuba, 1961. After leaving the military, he earned a nursing degree in Texarkana, Texas and then worked as a registered psychiatric nurse at Jefferson Barracks Veterans Administration in St. Louis, Missouri for ten years.

In June of 1965, Dick married Camille Todd of Truscott, Texas. They were married at the Jefferson City Missouri Courthouse. Their song was “Jackson” by Jonny Cash. They raised one son, Richard Lucas Claymon. Having already taught his son how to shoot, sharpen knives, and build fires, Dick was a fine choice for Den Mother when Luke was a cub scout.

Dick enjoyed time spent on Camille’s family ranch in North Texas. Dick loved ranch work, especially the horses and cattle, but prickly pear eradication ensured his commitment to nursing. Dick was a great fan of country music, when it was western. Two of his favorite songs were “Riders in the Sky” by Sons of the Pioneers (1959) and “Tennessee Stud” by Eddy Arnold (1959).  In the 1970s, Dick enjoyed asking urban cowboys if they were “working cattle in the area” and could often be heard to say, “Twenty years a cowboy and never stepped in sh-t” upon seeing one.

After divorcing Camille in July of 1981, Dick continued his nursing career in Texas and Central Missouri working primarily with troubled children.

Dick became the sole caretaker for his elderly mother in El Paso, Illinois. His caretaking ensured she was able to remain in her home for the duration of her life. During this time Dick became a certified massage therapist practicing in Central Illinois with a clientele of primarily farmers’ wives, until the farmers caught on.

Following his mother’s death and a severe stroke, Dick moved to White Creek, NY, living in a house his son built for him off Lincoln Hill Road. Dick enjoyed the peace and tranquility of this property and could often be found meditating by the small stream that flows through it. Living there for more than ten years, Dick raised rabbits and poultry and frequently visited the coffee counter at Benson’s Diner. Eventually, no longer able to drive, he chose to move to Salem, NY, where he was able to walk to medical services and the Post Office. He also enjoyed the Farmer’s Market, Fairydale Consignment Store, and the Salem Tavern. He eventually purchased a three-wheeled bicycle which he could often be seen riding around town.

Among those who predeceased Dick are his parents Merle and Marie Claymon and his former wife Camille.  The immediate family Dick is survived by are his son Luke Claymon (Shushan, NY), his daughter-in-law Susan Claymon (Shushan, NY), brother John Claymon (Austin, TX), and his sister Karen Claymon (Walnut Creek, CA). 

The family would like to thank Benson’s Diner, the Salem Tavern and Slate Valley Center for providing Dick opportunities to socialize in his later years.

Dick will be interred following a military service to be held at Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville NY.

Horses, women and seeking paths to higher truths were Dick’s great passions in life. Some words of wisdom he imparted were:  “Be here now”, “Do as I say, not as I do”, “Everything turns to sh-t, “There never was a horse that couldn’t be rode. There never was a cowboy who couldn’t be throwed”, and  “That was all she wrote”.

If you would like to remember Dick, take a moment to listen to one of his favorite songs.

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