A Life Lived: Earnest Clawson’s hands were those of a craftsman

Published 6:47 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Earnest Beryl Clawson had lived in Poga all his life, and it was there in the family cemetery on Dye Leaf Road that he was laid to rest this past Saturday.

Family and friends knew him quite well. They knew about his many talents, his love for his family and church, and his knack for growing things. But, to the outside world there was much more to Earnest than his obituary told us.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Known as Porter to his family and friends, Earnest enjoyed cooking A few years ago when his wife, Geneva, underwent surgery, Earnest did the cooking and he enjoyed it. Thus, he kept it up and especially enjoyed making pies and cakes. His favorite cake to make was Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

Geneva said her husband could cook anything — steaks, turkey, any kind of meat. She shared that he often went by a recipe but would add his personal touch. “He enjoyed helping me in the kitchen, and would often wash dishes for me,” she said.

In addition to cooking, Earnest enjoyed gardening and woodworking. “We used to grow a good-sized garden, but in more recent years had downsized it to a small plot closer to the house. He enjoyed growing tomatoes, and was good at it,” said Geneva.

At one time Earnest grew tobacco, which for many years was a good money-making crop for farmers. But, very few farmers now grow tobacco as there is not a local market for it.

Earnest never had a woodworking shop, but he like to make things, especially baby cradles, and over time had made several of them.

When he had time, Earnest enjoyed fishing and in earlier years was a deer hunter. His favorite fishing “holes” were Watauga Lake and the river near his home.

“He was an outdoors person, and he liked staying busy. In fact, he worked up until a couple of weeks before he died,” said Geneva.

In addition to his hobbies, Earnest had worked at Tri-City Plating in Elizabethton for over 20 years. More recently because of his health he had worked in the office in customer service, but before that he had buffed bumpers. Prior to his employment at Tri-State Plating, Earnest had worked at the local rayon mills for 35 years or more.

“He was a hard-working person, who enjoyed his family and providing for them,” said Geneva.

She and Earnest had been married for 51 years. “I first met him when I picked beans for his daddy. However, it was not until later that we began seeing each other and then eventually married. I think our first date was attending church together. We had a good life together,” Geneva said.

Earnest was devoted to his church at Elk Mills Baptist, where he had served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher. “He enjoyed teaching the Sunday School lesson and was the Adult Class teacher for many years. He took his faith very seriously and lived it,” said Geneva.

One of his favorite places to go was the Southern Restaurant in downtown Elizabethton. “Usually, he would have breakfast there each morning before he went to work, and if we were down that way on the weekends, he enjoyed stopping in for a meal,” Geneva said.

Earnest and Geneva had a daughter, Angela, and two sons, Johnny and Jerry. “He loved his family and when he was able he enjoyed doing things with the children and the grandchildren, especially sleigh riding in the winter,” Geneva shared.

Earnest Clawson was a mild-mannered person, who could do a lot of things. He never gave Satan a chance to make work for his hands, as they were rarely idle.

Both family and friends found him faithful, just a fine person who believed in hard work and being faithful to His Lord.