Courtesy photo Clifford Webber pictured in a Prince Street Baptist Church publication in the late 1980’s as a teen. He is described by friends and family as a troubled loner.
By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
He lived in the same town but family rarely heard from him.
Maybe it was his mother’s death when he was 11, or it might have been something else.
But Clifford Webber went his own way after high school, living apart from his extensive family in the Clovis, Texas Panhandle area.
Webber’s decomposing body was found Tuesday after a witness led police to an abandoned home on 14th Street, where he said someone had been stabbed in the heart.
Police have classified the case as a homicide but decline to disclose a motive or cause of death.
It was more than 24 hours before police released the 37-year-old’s identity.
Boyce Glover of Friona, Texas, said he learned of his nephew’s death Wednesday night while watching television news.
“It was just kind of a shock to me,” he said.
It had been more than a month since he spoke to his sister’s son, Glover said.
In their last conversation, he said his nephew told him he was living on west 14th Street and working for a bakery in downtown Clovis.
Webber flitted around in the family’s peripheral in recent years since Lola Glover, his grandmother and caretaker, died in 1998.
Glover said Webber’s mother Sandra Glover Webber died unexpectedly in 1983.
Family members have always believed the 11-year-old boy may have witnessed his mother’s death. “He was (there) but he never would talk about it,” Glover said.
Family members did not know what caused Sandra Glover’s death.
Webber traveled briefly to the east coast to live with family after her death, but returned to Clovis.
Lola Glover raised him from that point on, taking him to church with her at Prince Street Baptist, where he led the music for the congregation.
It was the music Wayne Boydstun, former pastor of Prince Street Baptist Church, remembers most about Clifford Webber.
“Cliff was a good kid. He was just a kid in high school, but he did struggle,” he said. Boydstun was a new pastor at the church when he met Webber, who was then in his last years of high school.
It was after high school that things really took a turn for Webber, Boyce Glover remembered.
He said his nephew went to Eastern New Mexico University for a semester but fell in with the wrong crowd. Glover said Webber started what would become a lifestyle of substance abuse.
“He was just kind of a loner and it seemed like he always got in with the wrong type of crowd,” Glover said.
Curry County Historian Don McAlavy remembers working with Webber on historical re-enactments at the Caprock Amphitheater in the early 1990s.
Clifford Webber was a cast member in several melodramas, starting at the old Lyceum Theater and in several Billy the Kid outdoor dramas in the early 1990’s, McAlavy wrote in an e-mail.
McAlavy, too, recalled Webber struggling to overcome his troubled spirit.
“The last time I saw Cliff Webber was when the amphitheater closed in 1992,” he said.
“Cliff had a rough time growing up. He did a pretty good job of becoming an actor.”
Webber lived with his grandmother before she died. But after Lola Glover died at age 83, Webber drifted, at one point moving to Denver to try his hand at acting, Boyce Glover said.
“We had some bad experiences when my mother died, (but) we feel like he was still part of the family,” he said of his sister’s son.
When Webber returned to Clovis, Glover said he told upsetting stories of how he lived and experiences he had there.
“He told me he was living like a homeless man,” Glover said.
Family members heard snippets of information through the years and saw him from time to time. They heard he had a job and a place in town, maybe even a girlfriend.
But Boyce said Webber was never close and they watched quietly from the sidelines.
Frank Simmonds said he hired Webber to work at Sutton’s Bakery on Main Street about three or four years ago. Webber was a baker’s assistant and was still working for Simmonds at the time of his death.
“If they work for me, I try to take care of them and treat them right,” Simmonds said, adding he knew little about Webber’s personal life.
“I knew he drank a little when he left (work, but) there wasn’t nothing wrong with his work. … (And) I knew he kept bad company,” he said.
For Glover and other family members, Webber’s story is a sad one. They would have gladly helped him and accepted him, but he chose to go his own way.
“He was kind of a loner,” Boyce Glover said.