When you think “real estate” in Lakewood and East Dallas, one name quickly pops to mind: Dick Clements.
Clements spent more than 65 years working the streets of our neighborhood, first with his own firm and most recently with Ebby Halliday.
It’s hard to find a neighborhood group that Clements and his wife, Chloie, didn’t support. Their volunteer efforts ranged from his years as PTA president of Hexter Elementary and Hill Middle School to his longtime leadership with the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and the Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce, where he served as president and was a permanent fixture on the group’s advisory board. Clements also was active at First Baptist Church Downtown and is a past chairman of the Fellowship of Deacons.
Clements moved to East Dallas when he was 5 years old and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1951 and later attended Texas A&M. When he was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1955, Clements became an independent real estate broker. He joined Ebby Halliday Realtors in 2001. Clements is credited with suggesting that real estate agents in East Dallas meet to regularly discuss open houses and other issues. That event became the East Dallas MLS meeting, says Rene Barrera, who leads Ebby’s East Dallas office.
If you’ve ever seen the tiny U.S. flags flying in front of Lakewood homes prior to the Fourth of July, you’ve seen Clements’ work in the neighborhood. In 1988, Dick and Chloie assembled a team of Clements Realtors employees to individually hand place flags in front of every home in the area tracking the annual Lakewood Fourth of July Parade. Over the years, the area to be “flagged” grew to the area from Gaston Avenue to Abrams Road to Mockingbird Lane to White Rock Lake.
For those counting, that’s more than 8,000 homes that benefited from Clements’ dedication to the neighborhood each July. In 2000, Clements began collaborating on the flag project with David Bush, who runs his own real estate company in East Dallas but previously had worked with Clements.
The Advocate wrote a story about the flag project in 2014. Bush and Clements recalled starting the day at 5 a.m. to beat the heat and working throughout the day, eventually doing “hot shot” deliveries throughout the day as neighbors called to request additional flags or say their home was somehow missed.
“People enjoy it, and it kind of adds to the whole small-town, slice-of-Americana feel that Lakewood has,” Bush told the Advocate in 2014. “It just seemed like something that you couldn’t not do anymore. It’s part of our Fourth of July.”
Clements was proceeded in death by one of his longtime neighborhood running buddies, Bill “Bulldog” Cunningham. Clements and Cunningham were fixtures on the Chamber’s board of directors. Also, they were instrumental in reviving the Chamber’s Annual Economic Summit, the group’s largest fundraiser each year. Neighborhood business owners know that Clements and Cunningham weren’t shy about asking anyone within eye site to pony-up and buy seats and tables at the event, which features an update about neighborhood development and politics. In recent years, the event has drawn upward of 300 attendees. This year’s event will be held online Oct. 20, and you can still sign up to attend.
For a number of years in the 1990s, Chloie wrote a popular monthly column for the Advocate about neighborhood history. As living history themselves, the columns typically let readers in on little-known secrets about the obscure things that make a neighborhood, including what had come before us and why things are the way they are.
Clements is survived by his wife, Chloie, and daughters Sharon and Cindy. Services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, in the old sanctuary at First Baptist Church Downtown.