Jim Everett Blog: Ed Cleary, Making Our Lives Better

Our dear and long-time friend, mentor, and ambassador, Ed Cleary, broke his femur recently but is doing extraordinarily well.  He is at the Life Care Center of Valley View facility off Alumbaugh.  At nearly 96 years of age, Ed’s mind is remarkable.

For almost 90 years, the Y has been a constant part of Ed’s life.  Starting in Zanesville, Ohio, where Ed learned to swim to his 60 years with our Y, Ed is a Y guy like no other.  To this day Ed can tell you stories in great detail about growing up at the Y under the tutelage of the youth director “Killy.”   He is also the best historian for our Y going back to Vern Emery, Champ Lake, Rich Nelson and others.

He helped create Fundsy when the Y was on the ropes financially.  He volunteered and contributed to every annual campaign the Y has had in the last 50 years.  He has been a board member, was the founding chair of the Endowment Trustee which established the now 400+ member Heritage Club and still sits on the Endowment Trustees where he is valued for his wisdom and perspective.

Ed is one of less than 10 people to have ever been recognized with this Y’s highest honor, The Golden Book of Distinguished Service.  He is a legend at this Y.

I am particularly grateful that he served on the committee that hired me to be CEO some 28 years ago.  From what I have been told, if it had not been for Ed and a few others, I would not have been hired, so I am really indebted to those who advocated for me against some strong opposition.  It is hard for me to imagine my life or that of my family without this Y and this opportunity.

Ed has been a wonderful mentor to me and will always be.  I have loved our regular visits at the Y, as he has continued to come in to pump iron, proudly sporting his Georgetown sweatshirt, where two of his grandkids have attended.  His constant smile, positive attitude and knowledge of current events are a source of inspiration to me and so many members.

Sadly, Ed says he has to give up his time at the Y.  He and Arita will be moving into Valley View.  He has given up driving, and if you saw him drive lately, that is probably a good thing for all of us, which even Ed acknowledges.  He says he is done grocery shopping, and he won’t miss it.  A great chef, he won’t be cooking much, but loves the food at Valley View and will occasionally make breakfast.  An interesting fact about Ed is that he lost his sense of taste years ago but is perhaps the biggest food critic west of the Mississippi!  He is very much at piece with this next stage of life.

I encourage you to go see Ed.  As always, you will feel a little better about life after some time with him.


Ed, thanks for being such an inspiration and role model to us all for all these years.  We will miss your presence at the Y, but will come to visit.