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Fundraiser set for Johnnie Clower family

Supporters hope to raise $25,000 to help pay the late restaurateur's medical bills.

By CHASE SQUIRES

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 8, 2000


DADE CITY -- In a rare move, nearly every civic association and organization in town is banding together for one joint event, a Dec. 7 charity dinner to pay medical and funeral expenses for the family of Johnnie Clower, the barbecue restaurateur who died last month.

Organizer David West said the event is co-sponsored by the city's Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, but also has the support of a host of organizations, including the Dade City Woman's Club, the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce, the local Bar Association, Habitat for Humanity, Zephyrhills Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, and others.

"I think we've got just about every organization in the area," West said Tuesday.

He said supporters hope to raise $25,000 to help pay medical bills that accumulated during Clower's six-week hospital stay.

Clower was 56 years old when he suffered a massive stroke Sept. 11 outside a Dade City grocery store. He never recovered. He died Oct. 21.

West said the fundraising effort is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the National Guard Armory on Live Oak Avenue. Tickets for the spaghetti dinner are $5 and will be available at the Chamber of Commerce headquarters on Church Avenue and from members of involved organizations, West said.

A fund has been established in Clower's name at First National Bank of Pasco branches.

"Johnnie gave of himself all his life," West said. "He cut across all lines; he reached out to everyone. You can see that by how many people want to step up now and help out, now that he's not able to be here for his family."

West said in addition to selling tickets to the dinner, organizers are planning to have collection buckets at the armory during the event for donors who want to contribute a few extra dollars. The money will be administered by a board of volunteers, he said.

Clower was recently honored by the Chamber of Commerce for his lifetime of work in the community.

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