Gary Clement, a well-known local musician, songwriter, composer, and singer, departed this life on Friday, January 15, 2021, at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center. He was 71 and a native of Thibodaux, LA. He enjoyed spending time with his family, eating his wife’s cooking, and sitting on his porch visiting with family, friends, and local musicians. Public visitation will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2021, at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1117 President St., Thibodaux, LA, from 9:00 a.m. until funeral service at 11:00 a.m. Public Jazz Burial will take place at St. Joseph Cemetery, 949 Menard Street, Thibodaux, La (Hwy 1 entrance). Funeral attendance is limited, and all must wear a mask.
Gary graduated from C.M. Washington High School in Thibodaux, LA, in 1967 where he was a member of the band, basketball team, and Class Chaplin. He attended Southern University as a music major and band member. He left college shortly after due to receiving the opportunity to travel abroad as a young teen in the 1960’s and 1970’s doing what he loved. Gary toured with popular music artists such as Clarence Carter, Candi Staton, Percy Sledge, Joe Tex, Al Green, Johnny Taylor, and many more established artists under the guidance of older local musicians and friends. He also played at the famous Apollo Theater in New York. He continued to tour in the early 1980’s with the Late Great ZZ Hill (until his untimely passing), going on to become his band leader and songwriter. He composed, “I’m Gonna Stop You From Giving Me The Blues,” an LP on ZZ’s album Bluesmaster. This song was featured in HBO’s popular series Treme’.
His love for music grew stronger and stronger after returning home where his focus shifted more to writing and sampling different genres of music including R&B, Blues, Country, and Gospel. He wrote numerous songs in his lifetime and registered most with Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Gary was most proud of his gospel album titled, “It’s A Spirit,” which he co-produced with local musician and pastor, David Rhodes. This album featured many talented area musicians and singers including Tony Hall, Roger Kimball, Donnie Breaux, The Rhode’s Family, Lillie Vicks Young, Kim Woods, and Michael Lee, just to name a few.
On the local scene, Gary is best remembered for playing at the Sugarbowl, Sanko’s Rock House, countless balls and Mardi Gras Tableaus, entertainment for the Krewe of Ghana Parade, and Sunday Brunch at Flannigan’s. He was a 2006 City of Thibodaux Hall of Fame Recipient for Music. He was an extra in the movie, “Ray,” filmed locally. He was a member of many local bands and groups including, Friends & Voices, Night Life, Night Line, Generation Gap, Twins, The Heroes, and Liquid Smoke.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Rose Bergeron Clement; daughters, Misty Clement and Kimberly Clement; grandson, Quentien “Turtle” Rogers; brother, Lionel “Prince” Shanklin, Jr. (Iris); Godchild, Kenneth Duncan; mother-in-law, Sarah Duplantis Bergeron; sisters-in-law; Barbara Moss, Terri Bell (George), Mary Miller, Juanita Bergeron, Bernadette Green (Clarence), Renee Bergeron, and Angelita Bergeron; brothers-in-law; Herbert Bergeron, Jr. (Ruth), James Bergeron, John Bergeron (Grace), and Michael Bergeron; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. He shared a special bound with Mary Ann Dyer, Terry Davis, Tony Hall, Tommy Jones, the late Webster Smith, the late J. Alfred Cook, the late Don “Cadillac” Henry, the late Freddie Vicks, Jr., the late James “Thunderbird” Davis, the late Linus Boyd, Earl Streams, Jr., Karl Jackson, Donald Theriot, Leonard Queen, Renard Martin, Thaddeus Richard, Jackie Avery, Harold Cook, Roger Kimball, Lionel Taps, Larry Martin, Ronald Golf, Sr., Jerome Howard, Aaron “Porkchop” Williams, and numerous musicians and friends.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents, May Bell Williams Clement and Lionel Shanklin, Sr., and stepfather, C.J. Banks; maternal grandmother Mary Westley Carter; sisters, Mary Clement Shanklin and Kate Shanklin; father-in-law, Herbert Bergeron, Sr.; sister-in-law, Gloria Bergeron; brothers-in-law, Roosevelt Shanklin, Roland Smith, and William Miller, III.
Arrangements by Williams & Southall Funeral Home, 1204 Cleveland St., Thibodaux, LA 70301. (985) 447-2513. To sign guest book or offer condolences, visit our website at www.williamsandsouthallfuneralhome.com.
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