Rock Stream: J. Clarence Sebring died peacefully with his family close on Thurs, Nov 16. This date was significant as it was the 72nd wedding anniversary of Clarence and his late wife, Wanda (Kenyon) Sebring.
A celebration of his life will be held at the convenience of the family in the spring, on a date to be announced.
Clarence was born Jan 20, 1924 in Altay, NY to William and Claribel Sebring. He graduated in 1939 from Dundee Central School which was the first class to graduate from the new centralized school and its brand new school building. In his early adult years, Clarence worked for Cliff Yawger and George Davis, two wonderful contractors who taught Clarence many skills which laid the foundation for his future endeavors. Clarence spent much of his adult life as the SOB (superintendent of buildings and Grounds) at DCS. He eventually became the President of the NYS SOB’s Association, a position of much responsibility. While at Dundee CS – he facilitated numerous improvements that benefited the entire district. He was very creative in procuring large equipment for the Army Surplus Depot which was a huge money saving benefit to the district. He organized the moving of a one-room school house to the DCS school campus. He retooled the furnace system which made heating the school much more efficient. A personal highlight for Clarence was when the Class of 1959 dedicated their yearbook to him. There were many more notable improvements that Clarence facilitated – too many to mention.
After Clarence retired – he was hired as a Clerk-of-the-Works for large building projects at neighboring schools, including Watkins Glen and Odessa – Montour. He also became a private pilot and was instrumental in establishing the Dundee Airport. In more recent years, he has been very busy renovating the Altay Hall – an entertainment center with original stage drops.
Clarence has an amazing mind that allowed him to create many inventions.
For his children and grandchildren – just a few of his creations were: a train, mini-cars, go-karts, tractor, 3-wheeled car, mini-bike, etc. In later years he made a Pancake machine called the “Awe-ja-magic” Pancake Machine –which made the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
Clarence loved vocal music and was a member of the Savage Club, a fraternal group in Ithaca who shared their talents at meeting. In 2003, Clarence was honored by Rotary with the Paul Harris Fellow Award, a community honor. Very notable event for Clarence was 1965-66 school year – Vania Seabra do Carmo spent a year with the Sebrings as an exchange student from Brazil. Subsequently, Wanda and Clarence made two trips to Brazil. More recently a scholarship was created at Dundee CS in honor of Clarence and Wanda, which was extremely humbling to Clarence and his family.
Clarence had an insatiable drive to resolve a problem and was very investigative in finding solutions. This was the basis for much of his success in life. He also had a great sense of humor and was the first to laugh or see the humorous side of a situation. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him – a truly unique individual with multiple talents, a generous spirit, and a smiling countenance. As it is said in John 12:43, “well done thy good and faithful servant”.
He is survived by a son Tim J. (Jean)Sebring of Penn Yan, a daughter Andrea M. (Arthur) Mansfield of Westfield, NY; 4 grandchildren, Megan (Matthew) Via, Dustin (Molly) Sebring, Clay Mansfield, Scott (Courtney) Sebring; 5 great grandchildren; a brother Burr A. Sebring of Barrington, Rhode Island; and several nieces and nephews. Besides his parents, he was pre-deceased by his wife Wanda in 2015, a brother W. Cole Sebring in 2011, and a granddaughter Kathryn Mansfield in 1995.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that donations be made to either the Dundee Baptist Church, 20 Seneca Street, Dundee, NY 14837 or the Tyrone Volunteer Ambulance Corp., P.O. Box 69, Tyrone, NY 14887.
Arrangements by the Baird Funeral Home, 36 Water St. Dundee, NY; online condolences can be sent by visiting www.bairdfuneralhomedundee.com.