Eugene Paul Clayburn

Eugene Paul Clayburn

Eugene Paul Clayburn was 87 years young when he passed from this life on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in the presence of his wife, Mable L. Clayburn married for over 67 1/2 years, son, Darren, and daughter, Judy, at Mercy Memorial Hospital in Ardmore, Okla. A Tribute Service to Clayburn's life will be held at 2:00 pm, Saturday, March 6, 2021, in The Chapel at Griffin~Hillcrest, of Ardmore with Charles Ryan officiating. Immediately following, an Honorary Military Service will be held at Crinerville Cemetery, where we will hang his hat and spurs for the last time on his "End of the Trail" journey.

Eugene was born in Stringtown, Oklahoma, on July 19, 1933, to Walter Clarence Clayburn and Virgie May (Cox) Clayburn. He often stated that he remembered moving to Ardmore in a covered wagon. He enlisted into the United States Army as a body/automobile repairman. As lead mechanic, he built & worked on the DUKW, a vehicle made for water & land. Eugene served in the Korean War from 1952-1954. After his discharge, he and his wife moved to Tucson, Arizona. His life's passion was to hunt "big game" in the wild with his 23 hunting dogs. He led many hunting expeditions for movie stars and other prominent public figures to hunt for bears, big mountain cats, coon, deer, elk, wild hogs, and various other wildlife. He led more hunting exhibitions when he moved back to Ardmore. Bill Quimby wrote several hunting articles on Clayburn in the "Tucson Daily Citizen" newspaper. On Wednesday, September 13, 1967, Bill Quimby wrote "Hunt Turned Disastrous. What started out to be a pleasant, one-day lion hunt last weekend became a near-nightmare for Gene Clayburn, Richard Switzer, and myself. It really taught us the importance of being prepared for emergencies -- even on short outdoor trips. We were hunting Brown Canyon in the Baboquivari Mountains and had worked our way to a high ridge below the peak when the accident occurred. We had lost the trail and were looking for a place to get down to the canyon bottom. Richard's horse broke through crusted snow on the narrow trail, slipped, and tumbled end-over-end almost 200 yards down the canyon. When the animal stopped, he was tangled around an oak tree and was unconscious. Luckily, we were not riding when the animal fell, but the horse was in a bad spot. Although there were no broken bones, the horse refused to move and we feared we might have to shoot him. If we were able to get him up where he lay, we could not have led him off the ledge. Richard owes his horse's life to Clayburn's horsemanship. Although his arm was in a cast, Clayburn instructed us to tie a rope around the horse's neck and shove the animal over the five-foot ledge. The rope choked the horse, forcing it to struggle to its feet. Then the rope was cut and Richard led the horse off the mountain. Saddle, bridle, and various equipment were damaged, but the horse miraculously escaped serious injury. A long, cold evening and then, our troubles began. By the time we climbed back up the mountain to our horses, Clayburn and I decided we could not get off the ridge the way we were going. Darkness caught us on a bare saddle when we attempted to go back the way we had come. Clayburn and I were forced to spend New Year's Eve huddled around a fire without food, water, or bedding. Wind blowing off the snowbank on the side of the canyon made it bitter cold. Although we had our saddles, chaps, and wet horse blankets, we could scrape up only enough equipment for one bed. One person slept while the other fed the fire. We were ill prepared to spend the night and were happy to see the sun come up. This primitive, forced campout made believers out of us. Next time we hunt, we'll have a flashlight, extra food, a cup to melt snow, and a light bedroll tied to our saddles. Other items that would have been useful that night would have included a sheet of plastic to break the wind, a small hand axe, instant coffee, candy, and light rope for making a lean-to. I've scoffed at hunter survival kits in the past, but I've learned a lesson. When I hunt on foot, I'll carry a flashlight, cup, coffee, plastic, and candy. They do not take up much space, weigh little and are sorely needed when you spend a night out unexpectedly." Quimby, also, stated that "Con Wheeler and Gene Clayburn are just a few of this area's better boundmen." Eugene was the Owner/ Operator of Clayburn's Plumbing & Backhoe Service in Ardmore. His major plumbing projects in Ardmore were the Carter Seminary, Super Wal-Mart, and Best Buy Warehouse.

He was preceded in death by his son, Bryan Keith Clayburn.

Eugene is survived by his wife, Mable Clayburn, Ardmore; son, Ricky Clayburn, Boley, Okla.; son, Darren Clayburn, Oklahoma City, Okla.; daughter, Judy Clayburn-Downs, Ardmore; son, Patrick Clayburn, Ardmore; Cheryl Clayburn, Ardmore, grandchildren: Dylan Clayburn of Oklahoma City; Colette Clayburn, Wade Clayburn, Krystal Clayburn, Starla Clayburn, Justin Clayburn, Chealsey Reeves, Chase Reeves, and Makayla Reeves, all of Ardmore; and many great-grandchildren.

Pallbearers will be Donnie Woods, Patrick Clayburn, Chase Reeves, Wade Clayburn, Cadene Welch, Dylan Clayburn, William Clayburn, and Tyler Smith.

A visitation will be held on Friday evening, March 5, 2021, from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm, at Griffin~Hillcrest of Ardmore.

Condolences may be left at www.griffinhillcrest.com.

Published on March 03, 2021