by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Homer Clements will probably best be remembered as the coach for Grain Valley’s only undefeated football team. Ironically, the feat was accomplished in the fall of 1928 (1928-29 school year) which was also Coach Clements first year as the Superintendent of Schools.
I cannot tell you when he first came to our school, but I do know that he was the superintendent for four years – 1927-28, 1928-29, 1929-30 and 1930-31. He was also the Superintendent in Buckner, and he taught in Lone Jack and Greenwood before becoming Jackson County Superintendent in 1940.
Homer McKinley Clements was born in Lone Jack, Missouri, on September 20, 1901 to Milton and Lottie Clements. He graduated from the University of Kansas and received his Master's Degree from the University of Missouri. On December 26, 1926, he married Nellie Fae Johnson of Buckner, Missouri. They had two daughters.
My dad always referred to Mr. Clements as his favorite teacher, but I’m thinking he was probably his favorite coach. While the football team was not overly successful following their undefeated 1928 season, dad was the Eagles’ quarterback and had a lot of stories about the “trick plays” Coach Clements taught them. I think the rules were probably pretty vague in those days adding to the chaos from the uneven and sometimes muddy and poorly marked football fields.
In 1940, Homer Clements followed LeRoy Blackburn as Jackson County School Superintendent, a position he held for 22 years. During his tenure, the schools underwent reorganization. In 1949 the 86 community and rural schools in Jackson County were reduced to 14 districts. Grain Valley went from Consolidated District No. 3 to Reorganized District No. 5.
After nearly 40 years in public education, Mr. Clements retired and like many retired educators, he spent 4 years in the Missouri House of Representatives on behalf of Missouri’s 12th District.
For more than 39 years, the Clements family lived on his wife’s family farm near Buckner. Farmer Clements grew trees. In his later year’s he also served as president of the Missouri Christmas Tree Producers Association.
Mr. Clements was long gone from Grain Valley when I was a student, but I do recall buying Christmas Trees at Santa’s Tree Farm!
The 1928-29 Freshman Class
Mr. Homer Clements, Superintendent
In the photo Mr. Clements is on the far right. At only 28 years of age, he did not look much older that his students.
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society