Special to SEGAZINE
Waycross native Clano Stephens is living the good life as evidenced by the accomplishment of a milestone, his 101st birthday. ASU’s longest living Golden Ram was showered with honors Thursday, Sept. 12, at Ware County High School, in his hometown to mark the occasion.
ASU alumni, faculty, and staff joined Stephens’ family, friends, and Ware County residents for the celebration. Former ASU Student Government Association President, Clarence Washington, was the event’s guest speaker.
Washington’s message entitled, “A man that has taken steps so that others can take strides” chronicled the centenarian’s circle of life from school days at Georgia Normal and Agricultural College, now ASU in 1925, to an extensive education career, military service and entrepreneurial endeavors such as ownership of the only hotel in Southeast Ga. providing extended stay service for African Americans in the 1950’s. He also worked for Atlanta Life Insurance.
“Mr. Stephens has represented his alma mater Albany State University like an Olympic champion working for the gold medal and he’s still running for Albany State today. Mr. Stephens has accomplished so much while blazing the way for others to come behind him,” stated Washington.
The day-long celebration included ASU recruitment initiatives for junior and senior students at Ware County High School and The Clano Stephens Scholarship Fund dinner. The scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior from Ware County or surrounding counties to attend ASU. The mayor of Waycross Clarence Billups and Ware County Board of Commissioners issued a joint resolution declaring Sept. 12, “Clano Stephens Day”.
When asked how it feels to be 101 years old, Stephens answered, “Wonderful! I wish I could explain it. Try to get up here and you’ll find out for yourself,” he beamed, his silver hair perfectly coiffed, mustache trimmed, wearing a dark suit, sleek tie, with black shoes and red socks.