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Former Franklin Mayor John Clyde (Photo courtesy of Marilyn Parente via FACEBOOK)

John Clyde, former Franklin mayor, dies at 63

Somerset County Democrat was two-time heart transplant recipient

By David Wildstein, January 26 2019 3:15 pm

Former Franklin Township Mayor John Clyde, a two-time heart transplant recipient who spent sixteen years on the township council, passed away on January 24.  He was 63.

Clyde first ran for office in 1979, at age 24, losing a race for an at-large council seat.  Franklin Township may have held non-partisan elections, but back then the slates were loosely organized along party lines.  Clyde finished fifth in a race for four seats, running just 149 votes behind councilwoman Frieda Warner.

He was first elected councilman in 1981, winning the Ward 3 seat that opened when John Cullen opted not to seek re-election.  Clyde defeated Republican William  Harnden with 63% of the vote.

In 1985, Clyde won a second term against Republican Richard Terry Lothian, the pastor of the Community Baptist Church.   He ran unopposed for re-election in 1989.

After receiving a heart transplant, Clyde did not seek re-election in 1993.

Four years later, Clyde returned to public office in a bid to regain his Ward 3 council seat.  He defeated Republican Anthony Mazzola with 57% of the vote in what had now switched to partisan November elections.

Clyde was elected mayor in 2001 and did not seek re-election to the council that fall.  His seat remained in Democratic hands when Fred McKenzie defeated Karen Ferguson by 91 votes.

He worked as a parole violation hearing officer for the state Department of Corrections.

At the time of his death, Clyde served as regional chair of the Somerset County Democratic organization and was a member of the executive committee.

“He has been a fixture within our party for many years, always a reliable volunteer even when his health made that challenging,” said Somerset County Democratic chair Peg Schaffer.  “His presence, spirit and political savvy will be missed.”

Clyde is survived by his daughter and son.  He was predeceased by two sons.

Visitation will be held on Monday from 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM. at Gleason Funeral Home in Somerset.  Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 10 AM. at St. Matthias Church in Somerset.

John Clyde as a 26-year-oldd candidate for Franklin Township Council in 1981


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