Anthony Bruce McClendon was born May 22, 1952 in Atlanta, Ga to William and Rosia McClendon. He was their second son and joined his big brother, Bill and later his younger sister, Carol would follow. Tony lived his life exemplifying the scripture, Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Tony spent his entire life glorifying God.
At the age of 7, he gave his life to Christ at his home church, Jackson Memorial Baptist Church. His many ministerial roles over his life included Deacon, Trustee, Superintendent of Sunday School, Associate Pastor and Pastor. His other ministries and outreach included the Emmaus Community, Promise Keepers, Kairos Prison ministry and New Day REC where he fellowshipped with many brothers and sisters in Christ and made lifelong friends. His most recent season of calling was to begin a virtual ministry, The Way, to reach all with The Word in today’s age.
As a young man, Tony attended Harper High School in Atlanta where he excelled in school receiving many honors and awards. He was particularly proud of being the drum major in the marching band. Tony was known throughout the city for his flashy steps and doing splits on the field. Because of his high academic achievements at Harper, Tony was accepted into Dartmouth College, class of 1974, where he met his wife, Pat. They married in 1976. They remained by each other’s side until his transition to glory.
Tony’s passion was coaching and impacting the lives of young men and women. He believed you never had to raise your voice if you gave respect and expected respect. He was most proud of the legacy he left on the Columbus community by influencing and molding the young people of tomorrow. Many young men and women he coached, today have children of their own yet still called him Coach. Tony coached football for 18 years at Central Middle School and for a short time on the coaching staff of East High School. He coached track for 18 years as well focusing on long jump and high jump, taking many athletes to the State Championships. But in all his coaching he always believed in scholarship first. You would often hear him say, “You are a STUDENT athlete, so what about your grades?’
Social justice and closing the racial divide among God’s children were Tony’s calling. He was a Human Rights Commissioner and was the Director of Multi-Cultural Diversity for the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation. He wanted everyone to see each other as people and not their color or ethnicity. One person recently stated, “In a heated situation, there would seem to be instant calm when Tony entered the room.”
Tony was most proud of being a father, grandfather and Unc. He would brag on his daughters Alexandria and Samantha. When his grandchildren came along, he became G-daddy. His love was unconditional, and Tony always encouraged everyone to be the best they could be. He “adopted” many sons and daughters in Columbus, and they would often end up at his home. Once a “kid” was his, Tony would say, “you are mine” which meant he would do anything for that child. In many settings, Tony would tell people, “this is my son, or this is my daughter”. He dearly loved his great nephew, Christopher Quisenberry, who he considered more his grandson than a nephew.
On a more joyful note, Tony was the king of graphic novels (comic books to those who are not aficionados). He read and collected them from a young boy. He said he got it from his Father, William McClendon. He passed on his love to his daughter, Alexandria and his niece, Rachel. He gave his grandnephew, Christopher his first “graphic novel “and hooked him. Even now his toddler grandsons, Alton and Grayson are hooked on the Marvel Universe.
Tony will tell you that your legacy is important, not stuff. Don’t store up treasures that will rust, rot or be taken away. Live a life that will be remembered and impactful for generations. Those left to remember and love his legacy is his wife of 42 years, Patricia McClendon; his heart, his daughters and the life partners that they chose who are Dad approved, Alexandria (Shawn) Donaldson and Samantha McClendon (Quincy Douglas); His mother, Rosia McClendon; His sister, Carol Jackson: His first cousin- brother, Harold Watson, Jr.; His daughter-nieces, Rachel Quisenberry-Reynolds (Denis) and Tiffany McClendon; His grandchildren; Christopher Quisenberry, Alton Donaldson, Grayson Donaldson and Vivian Rose Donaldson. Tony always said that the Ferguson Family, his in-laws, were his brothers and sisters and they will remember his legacy as well. Arthur (Terri) Ferguson, Kathy (Jim) Garrison, Pamela (Woodrow) Quisenberry, Gregg (Becky) Ferguson of Dayton, OH., Melissa (Albert) Wilkerson, Marvin Griffin and Gary Cotton. He would have us tell of his two best friends, Julius Parham and Keith Early. A crowd of witnesses in his Aunts, Uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, to the oldest to the youngest great-great nephew will cherish his memory. His adopted children that called him Dad, Beactrice Mack, Ebun Ash, Jasmine Stallworth and all those he always called “mine”, his coach’s kids and a multitude of brothers and sisters in Christ who loved him dearly.
He was preceded in death by his father, William McClendon, Sr. and brother, William McClendon, Jr.
The funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. Friday at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church with Rev. Mark Teike and Bishop Charles A. Sims officiating. Visitation will be held Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Barkes, Weaver & Glick Funeral Home on Washington Street and from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service Friday at the church.
Burial will be at Garland Brook Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to either Kairos Prison Ministry, New Day REC or Columbus East High School Athletics.
Online condolences and special memories may be shared with the McClendon family at barkesweaverglick.com.
Let your light shine!