red doc marten boots Clyde Deal 1937

Clyde Deal died at home Jan. 17, 2015. He was born to Claude and Edith Banish Deal in Omaha, Nebraska, on Aug. 5, 1937. One grandmother was Sioux and Cree, and his grandfather was Canadian Indian.

Clyde’s childhood was spent in East Los Angeles and it was brief. Both parents were gone by the time he was 9. He commuted between sisters, ran numbers for bookies and jumped the streetcar to escape to the foothills or the ocean. Summers, he spearfished off Carlsbad. symphony. He took up climbing, hot rods and street racing. His design work and mechanical acumen caught the attention of Ford Motors, with offers of a full scholarship. Given a choice between the corporate world and a free, uncharted life, he chose to work high steel on the hangars at Edwards Air Force Base before moving to the Sierra Nevada. Jobs at Sugar Bowl led to working the Squaw Valley Olympics and the opportunity to pre run the downhill course.

Yosemite had more climbing and he migrated to jobs there, ranging from mule skinning and mechanics to managing the Merced Lake high camp. At Glacier Point he managed the hotel, which included building and pushing off the fire fall each evening a job he turned into art. As winter caretaker he mediated nightly between the pine martin and the skunk who also called the hotel home.

Free time was spent climbing, or exploring 20 30 miles a day of backcountry in search of the most secret fishing holes. It was during this time that he fell in with a group of ambitious climbers at Camp 4 who were the first to pioneer routes up the now famous big walls there. Herbert. Royal and Liz Bobbins became two of his dearest friends, along with many of the other climbers there, now considered to have comprised something of a “Golden Age of Climbing” crew.

Ansel and Virginia Adams became his mentors. Ansel gave him his first tripod and insisted he use it. Photography remained a passion throughout his life. Virginia shared her knowledge of Southwestern art, gleaning from her long experience of buying from the artists.

The corporate pressures to advance upward spurred him to buy a garage on the edge of the park. Some years later, friends asked him to help with the buying at Goulding’s Lodge in Monument Valley. He sold the garage, learned Navajo and travelled myriad backroads in search of the artists.

When a powerful tribal leader died no Navajo dared associate with the body, so the tribe asked Clyde to retrieve the body from the morgue in Tuba City. After extensive cleansing by the medicine man, Charlie Black, he was considered a true friend of the Din and Charlie invited him to healing and other ceremonies. They became good friends and Clyde absorbed the Din world view.

Family matters forced a return to California, where he joined forces with Jani Roper and moved back to the desert in 1975. The Moab area offered a lifetime of exploration, and they eventually settled in town. Spurning the good jobs offered in mining, he chose to work for his longtime friend, Mitch Williams, as a mechanic, 4×4 and river guide for Tag a Long Tours, Wild Scenic, Navtec, and Sheri Griffith. He was one of the first to kayak Cataract Canyon, and ran the Grand Canyon in one day with John Williams. Free time was spent photographing the desert, exploring and camping around the Colorado River basin.

Eventually, home repairs and a half acre (plus) of junk and weeds led him to spend more time at home. His creativity flourished and he retired to build waterfalls, ponds and pagodas in their garden. In 2000, he and Jani married, after 25 years of deliberation. By the time his body slowed down he had his own wild environment and spent hours in the pagoda watching the wildlife that moved there.

Throughout his life he harbored a deep connection with the planet. He valued freedom over certainty, time more than money, and love above all else. Merging with the desert he acquired its rhythms, beauty, and timeless sense of being. His integrity was warmed by a deep sensitivity and humbleness of being that attracted both animals and people.

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doc martens london Clyde Deal 1937