Dr James Franklin Clements: brother, husband, father,
naturalist, entrepreneur, adventurer, diplomat, leader, and friend, was
born October 31, 1927 in New York. He passed away on June 9, 2005, at
Tri-City Hospital in Oceanside, California from complications associated
with acute myloid leukemia.
Jim spent most of his early years in the Graham School Orphanage in
Hastings-on-Hudson. He joined the Merchant Marine at age 15, and shifted
to the navy when he was of age seeing service on the Philippine Sea
aircraft carrier.
He started his post secondary education at Beloit College in Wisconsin,
married Mary Norton, and completed his undergraduate education at the
University of Minnesota.
He served his country again during the Korean conflict, this time in the
United Stated Air Force. His family, which now included two sons, moved
to California in 1952 where he eventually became a partner in the
successful printing firm of George Rice & Sons. He received his PhD from
California Western University in 1975. His thesis became the first
edition of his Birds of the World, A Check List, which has since sold
five editions and is used by tens of thousands of bird watchers
internationally. The Smithsonian Institute recently contacted Dr.
Clements to use his list in their plan to classify each of the 9800
birds in the world.
After retiring in 1988 Jim founded Ibis Publishing Company, and
subsequently produced a number of books, including: A Natural History of
the Waterfowl, by Frank Todd, California Birds, by Arnold Small, A Field
Guide to the Birds of Yap Island, Ornamental Trees of San Diego, A Field
Guide to the Birds of Peru, Clements and Shany, Birds and Mammals of
Antarctica, by Frank Todd.
In his role as an accomplished naturalist he has funded several
enterprises in Ecuador, Peru, Baja California. In 1989 he raised money
for the Schreiber Hall of Birds at the Los Angeles Natural History
Museum by viewing a record number of bird species seen in a calendar
year and donating funds pledged by individuals and organizations to the
museum. Recently Jim received the high honor of having a bird named
after him, The Iquitos Gnatcatcher, Polioptila clementsi.
In 1986 Dr. Kamuzu Bonda, President of the Republic of Malawi, appointed
Dr. Clements as Honorary Consul General for the State of California. He
was past president of many civic organizations including the San Diego
Museum of Natural History and the Explorer's Clubs of Los Angeles and
San Diego.
Dr.Clements is survived by his wife, Karen of Temecula, CA., a brother
Robert of San Francisco, step son Dave of Murietta, step son Tim of
Temecula, son Bob of Salt Lake City, son Dan of Everett, WA., and eight
grand children.