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Clem Florio (1930-2008)

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I received word yesterday that Baltimore and the world lost one of its iconic lovers of horse racing and boxing on Sunday night when Clem Florio died in Hollywood, Fla. from pancreatic cancer.

I wrote a tribute to Clem about 10 days ago.

I actually chatted with his daughter, Clemma, on Sunday afternoon before his passing and she said that he loved the past year of his life in Florida with the warmth and even made the occasional trip to Calder during his illness, when he also suffered from dementia.

There are several links on the web to Clem’s life and story, most notably pieces that Michael Olesker has written for The Examiner here and here.

Vinnie Perrone also wrote a fabulous tribute here.

Clem was my resident horseman and boxing afficionado during the 1990’s and he was truly one of my favorite people on earth. There was no way to spend time with Clem and not find it enjoyable. He was as engaging and kind and animated an individual as I’ve ever known.

He was just great company!

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One friend wrote on an email thread last night: “I’m thinking of all the cliches here, but, damn, it ain’t easy imagining that force of energy just going away.”

Amen, brother!

I’ve spent the entire holiday weekend sick as a dog and went through some old pictures, searching for ones with Clem involved.

I shed a few tears and remembered his booming voice and our many bocci games in Little Italy…

I’m having some problems getting the pictures I found attached to my blog (my war with machines continues!). When I figure it out, I’ll publish some pics of Clem with the WNST gang at the Nice Guy Awards and also at our annual Duckpin Bowling Tournaments at Pinland in Dundalk.

We’ve lost a good man!

If I could just hear Clem scream “OH YOU BABY DOLL!” one more time…

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