Town Commissioner Buster Cleary Dies
By Jackie Seabolt
J.C. “Buster” Cleary died at his home this past weekend at the age of 77.
He was a long serving Mocksville town board member, former county commissioner, and a man many remember as having a big heart. There were few in town who didn’t know him and even fewer who didn’t know of him.
When Buster attended the monthly town meetings he almost always brought along his beloved toy poodle that would sit quietly in his lap.
“He was a commissioner with the town when I first started here,” Town Manager Christine Bralley says. “He’s been here my entire tenure. And he usually always had something to say to make us laugh. He always wanted to help people … he really did.”
Mayor Francis Slate knew Buster since 1960 and remembers when they lived on Avon Street, neighbors divided by one house. “He and his wife, Gwen, were good neighbors,” Slate says.
Slate remembers Buster’s early career as a car salesman for Pennington Chevrolet, before opening Cleary Auto Sales.
“I bought a couple of Chevrolets from Buster back in his early days.”
Slate and Bralley also remember Buster and his fondness for good food.
“He could use the most descriptive adjectives to describe things … he would enunciate words like de-li-cious to describe certain foods,” Bralley remembers.
The mayor recalled a trip that he, Buster, and others took to Washington, D.C. some years back.
“Buster had two suitcases. One had his clothes and wing tip shoes in it, and the other was full of food – cheese, crackers, and drinks,” Slate said. “He was a real character.”
Bralley says that Cleary had a deep appreciation for flowers and often admired the ones growing in local yards. “If anyone was receiving a recognition at one of the meetings he always wanted flowers given to them,” Bralley says. “If the recipient was a man, he always wanted the wife to be recognized and given flowers.”
Slate said some time back a group went to a restaurant and Cleary had a page of rose stickers. “He had a piece of paper with roses on it and he wanted to put one on the waitress. He was a happy, full of life guy in those days.”
When Cleary had to make a trip to the hospital Bralley came …