Clarence (“Goose”) Grider passed away peacefully at home on January 4, 2018 surrounded by family and friends. He was 81. Dearly beloved husband of the late Jutta Grider; cherished father of Mark Grider and Robin Grider (Steve Finegan); loving son of the late Emelia Grider and the late Frank Grider; devoted brother of the late Rosemarie Devlin and the late Al Gfroerer; dear brother-law of Dorte and Karl Bent Andersen, Denis and Helen Devlin and Charlotte Gfroerer; adored uncle of Anita Skjolstrup (Carl Erik), Henrik Andersen, Kurt Devlin (Jennifer), Michael Devlin, and Jeannette Gfroerer.
A native son of San Francisco, Clarence was a remarkable man in many ways. He attended Lowell High School and was one of the best high school basketball players to ever come out of San Francisco. Clarence received many awards and accolades during his stellar basketball career, most notably Picture Week’s All-American first team, with Wilt Chamberlain. “Goose” was a regular fixture in the local San Francisco sports pages. Clarence was an all-around great athlete, and while basketball was where he achieved his most storied success, one of his true loves was baseball, and he also excelled as a pitcher while at Lowell.
Clarence was offered full scholarships to 25 top universities, in addition to a chance to play for the New York Knicks right out of high school. He chose Oregon State, but his amazing basketball career came to a sad end after a tragic accident in which he lost he right eye.
Due to his formidable spirit, Clarence went courageously on with his life and while traveling by ship to Germany to visit an Army friend, he met the love of his life, Jutta. They had great passion for each other, as well as many common ideals and interests. They married in Jutta’s home country of Denmark, and Clarence became an honorary Dane. After a whirlwind three-month honeymoon in Europe, they settled back in San Francisco and had their son, Mark, and then their daughter, Robin.
Clarence was a larger-than-life personality, with an incredible sense of humor and lit up every room he entered. He and Jutta were a perfect partnership in that they both loved to host parties, dance and have a fun time with friends and family. They traveled the world with their children and spent many summers in Denmark with their family.
Clarence was a physical education teacher at Everett Middle School for twenty-five years. He was revered by his students and had a lasting impact on many lives. In addition to being a teacher, Clarence learned the real estate business from his brilliant mother, Emelia, and with this knowledge, he and Jutta, through hard work and dedication, were able to develop and maintain the family real estate business.
Another highlight of his life in recognition of his illustrious basketball career, Clarence became of one the first athletes to be inducted into the San Francisco Prep Hall of Fame.
Goose had a heart of gold and a very generous spirit. He gave back to the community, with his focus on public high school baseball programs in the City. He was an active member of San Francisco Old Timer’s Baseball Association, and funded a scholarship for outstanding baseball student athletes. He had a special affinity for Balboa High School and donated to many improvements for its baseball program. In fact, Goose was bestowed the title of honorary Balboa Buccaneer!
Clarence was steadfastly loyal to his family and friends. He gave freely of his time and energy to anyone in need. Many valued his commonsense wisdom and advice.
There will never be another Goose Grider, who had the strongest character, a loving spirit and the heart of a champion. Clarence is now with his beautiful bride, Jutta, in heaven, laughing out loud, dancing up a storm and watching over us all. Clarence will be missed, but never forgotten. May his memory be eternal.
Family and friends may visit on Thursday, January 11, 2018, after 4:00 PM and until 9:00 PM at Duggan’s Serra Mortuary, 500 Westlake Avenue in Daly City, with a vigil at 7:00 PM. A memorial service will be held on Friday, January 12, 2018 at 10:00 AM at Duggan’s followed by Committal Services at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Colma. Duggan’s Serra Mortuary 650-756-4500.
Donations can be made to the San Francisco Old Timer’s Association, Balboa High School, or any San Francisco public high school sports program.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 7, 2018