Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Choc" Climer -- still going strong

A happy 80th birthday today to "Choc" Climer, who for 22 years had a hand in building many major facilities and landmarks in and around Amarillo.

"I finally got there," said Climer of the big 8-Oh.

From 1956 to 1978, Climer was owner of Climer Steel Erectors. His company's first job was putting in the steel for Tascosa High School.

They also did the work on First Christian Church, the Civic Center, the Palo Duro Canyon Pioneer Amphitheater, seven elementary schools in Amarillo, including Belmar, Ridgecrest and Oakdale, and kept a construction crew at Pantex for 20 years.

"It seems like we built everything from Helium (Road) to Hope Road except for Gander Mountain," he said.

But Climer Steel Erectors reached beyond Amarillo. His company of nearly 60 did work in four states. His biggest job may have been helping build a C5 hangar in Altus, Okla., not long before he sold out the company to his employees.

"That was a humongous job," he said.

Climer ran three times unsuccessfully for political office for county commissioner, sheriff, and county judge.

"I was probably lucky I never did get them," he said.

Today, he has Climer Properties, which is commercial sales and rentals. There were 116 people jammed into his and wife Barbara's home last Saturday to celebrate his birthday. He doesn't plan on slowing down.

"I'll never quit working," he said. "I'm about the only guy I know my age not taking prescription medicine. I've got no aches and pains."

But the best time of his life was having a hand in helping Amarillo grow.

"But I tell you, I still wish I was in the business," he said. "Once it gets in your blood, it's hard to get it out. I just enjoy seeing progress done."

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