A retired Kennewick teacher who believed in youth and serving the community has died at age 94.
Clyde Painter had a role in bringing a full-service retirement community to a former alfalfa field on what was then the outskirts of Kennewick.
He died Monday in Richland.
“(Clyde) was just a great soul,” said the Rev. Jerry Poole of Kennewick’s First United Methodist Church.
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Painter’s wife, Shirley, realized in the early 1980s that the Tri-Cities needed housing for active older adults when the couple’s friends had to move to western Washington to live in a retirement community.
The first phase of what is now known as The Village at Canyon Lakes finally broke ground in 1992. A park in Canyon Lakes is named after the couple — Painters Village Green — with a plaque located near the gazebo.
Shirley Painter died in 2007.
He really did believe in youth. (He thought) you’ve got to invest in the young people because they’re tomorrow, they’re our future.
Sherry Arnold, good friend and former student of Clyde Painter
Clyde Painter, who taught in the Kennewick School District, dedicated himself over the years to many organizations, including Boy Scouts of America, Kiwanis, the American Association of Retired Persons and the Men’s Club at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center.
Sherry Arnold first met Painter when he was her sixth-grade math and science teacher at Park Middle School, she said. She then found out they went to the same church, and over the years their relationship changed to one of good friends.
Arnold, 56, of Pasco, said Painter — who was the first teacher to give her detention — often would tell new parishioners in more recent years that he “knew her when she was just a lost little girl trying to figure out who she would be.”
Painter was a proud Boy Scouts leader who wore his uniform to church last February for Scout Sunday.
“He really did believe in youth. (He thought) you’ve got to invest in the young people because they’re tomorrow, they’re our future,” Arnold said. “He was a quiet guy who would work harder for you than anybody. If Clyde was in your corner, you couldn’t do better than that.”