Clyde McQueen was born on August 24, 1926, in the Lily Island community, Texas. He was the first born of the union between William and Letisha McQueen. His parents had both been previously married and each had a son from the prior relationship, Robert and John. Later the blended family included younger sisters Betty Jo, Bertha, and Billie Jean; along with younger brother, Eura.
From humble beginnings, Clyde learned the necessity of hard work in order to survive and flourish. His dad was a sharecropper, farmer, mill worker and railroad hand who had to double-up on work during the Depression. Clyde’s mother died when he was nine years old. He and his oldest sister, Bertha, had to assume many of the household chores and responsibilities at a young age. With the help and support of relatives and neighbors, the McQueen family weathered the hard times and stayed together. At 13, Clyde assumed responsibility for managing the family finances and grocery shopping. He took pride in his fiduciary responsibilities. A pride that instilled within him the desire to look out for the welfare of others as he continued on his path in life.
Clyde dropped out of high school after the 9th grade to go to work as a laborer. A year later when he approached draft age in 1944, Clyde joined the Navy as an apprentice seaman and served during WWII, 1944-1946. Clyde received a promotion to seaman second class to attend the naval technical academy but was denied entrance because he did not have a high school diploma. That was the last time Clyde missed out on an opportunity because he did not have the proper degree. After being honorably discharged, Clyde re-joined his family and enrolled in high school at Dunbar High School; and graduated with a diploma in 1947 at the age of 21. After completing his high school diploma, Clyde enrolled in Prairie View University and the ROTC. Within three years, in 1950, Clyde earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture – making him the first male in his family to earn a college degree. But that was not all Clyde earned. During this time, he also earned the love and affection of Constance Trim who became his wife on November 18, 1950.
Soon after Clyde and Connie married, he departed for active duty in the Korea War until 1952. During that time Clyde experienced 16 months of active duty, 90 days of frontline duty, promotion to first lieutenant; and received a Combat Infantry Badge and battle star.
Clyde’s educational pursuits did not end at his Bachelor’s degree, he later earned a Masters Degree in Education with a minor in Economics from Prairie View in 1957; and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from Texas A&M University in 1970.
Clyde enjoyed 58 years of marital bliss until the passing of his wife, Connie, in 2008. They had two sons, Clyde Renard and Bruce Elliott. Clyde was a devoted husband, father, and dutiful provider for his family. Clyde’s military training and education afforded him employment opportunities to provide comfortably for his family. Clyde excelled in his careers as an Air Force technical instructor, soil conservationist, certified urban planner, and policy analyst with the National Resources Conservation Service, US Department of Agriculture earning promotions and service awards.
After retirement from his civil service career, Clyde pursued an interest that developed while working with Black farmers to develop their farmland. Clyde became curious about the many Black churches he saw in communities that dated back to the mid 1860’s. Clyde started a 10-year study of Black churches and the histories of “folk built” worship houses and congregations. Once completed, he had visited 375 churches and traveled 90,000 miles to catalog their growth and development. His book, Black Churches in Texas, A Guide to Historical Congregations, was published by Texas A&M University Press, College Station, Texas on April 20, 2000. This effort became a spiritual journey for him. Its conclusion was a source of tremendous joy and pride for Clyde.
In 2009, Clyde published his second book, The Black Army Officer, the Untold Story, from 1947 to 1999, chronicling President Harry S. Truman’s signed Executive Order 9981 that abolished racial segregation in the Armed Forces of the United States of America in 1948. The book documents this historic event and its impact on young black male college students who attended Prairie View A&M University and were commissioned Second Lieutenants from 1947-to-1999.
Clyde was forever grateful for and proud of his cumulative military service. It was his WWII and Korean War service that enabled him to obtain GI benefits to complete high school, college and graduate schools. Clyde was a faithful member of St. James AME Church, Temple, Texas since 1972.
Clyde McQueen’s strong sense of duty and responsibility as well as his of love of his family, siblings and their families, established his pathway for achievements, in education, civic, family, and professional life. Clyde is survived by sisters; Bertha Anthony, Betty Leath and Billie Jean Caviel; his sons Clyde Renard (Gerri), Bruce Elliott; two grandchildren, April Daniels and Trevor McQueen; four great grandchildren; a host of nieces and nephews; and many dear friends.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, May 19, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at Branford/Dawson Funeral Home.
Private Funeral Services will be held.
Guest book may be signed at www.branforddawsonfuneralhome.com