AFRH-G Resident Highlight - Clyde Hairston
By Lori Kerns | Librarian
Clyde Hairston was born in Virginia but moved to New York at an early age. He was an only child born to his parents, who were domestic workers. The family moved around New York until setting in New York City where Clyde attended high school. After graduating, he began studying at Howard University until he made the decision to join the Air force in 1955.
For basic training he was sent to Sampson Air Force Base in Geneva, NY. His next orders were to attend tech school in Wichita Falls, TX where he was trained as an aircraft and engine mechanic. He served in the Air Force for four years, including during the Korean War, working as a crew chief and aircraft mechanic on C-119 and C-46 aircraft. After his military service, Clyde began a civilian career working for Republic Aviation, where he was placed as an assembly worker because they felt he did not qualify to work on the flight line. He also held positions at Lockheed Aircraft as an inspector and with the NYC Transit Authority working as a road car inspector. In addition, he went back to college to earn his bachelor’s in business administration.
Clyde is the proud father of three children, Jean, Alan, and Lynne. His hard work ethic and drive for education was also passed on to his children. Alan attended Georgia Tech to become an engineer and later earned a graduate degree from the University of Maryland. His daughter, Lynne, competed with the Penn State gymnastics team, where she earned her undergraduate degree. She finished her education with a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.
Clyde moved into AFRH-G pre-Katrina. When the storm destroyed the home, he transferred to the DC campus with many of the other residents. Even in retirement, he has remained incredibly active by exercising, traveling, and volunteering. He has enjoyed the amenities of both AFRH campuses by swimming and walking but also gets out in the community to golf. He also relaxes by playing duplicate bridge, pinochle, and bid whist. His travels have taken him across the U. S. and also worldwide. He has taken train tours across the country and through Canada. He’s also cruised to such exotic locations as Antarctica and the Mediterranean.
Clyde’s generous acts of volunteerism is quite extensive and beyond impressive. His time has been donated to the following agencies and organizations: NAACP President (Beacon Fishkill, NY), National Air and Space Museum, University Toastmasters, New York State Court Monitor (sitting in on cases and reporting back to judges recommendations such as adding a law library and nursery), United Way of Dutchess County, NY, Disabled American Veterans, IBM Quarter Century Club Secretary/Treasurer, National Hairston Clan (received Community Service Award), Habitat for Humanity (building homes on the National Mall), Board of Directors for Colonel John C. Robinson Brown Condor Society for Harrison County, MS, and the Senior PGA Tournament in Mississippi. Most recently, he serves as a movie host at AFRH-G.
Clyde’s secret to a long, happy, productive life is, “Living the clean life.”