West central Spokane loses hero

Published On: Jun 26 2012 06:25:40 PM PDT   Updated On: Jun 26 2012 09:29:55 PM PDT
West central Spokane loses hero
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The west central community is mourning the loss of a man it calls one of its heroes.

James Clancy died Monday when a dump truck crashed into his truck while he was making a delivery near the Spokane International Airport. His neighbors said he was a kind man who tried his best so nobody would go hungry.

"All I can say is he was a great guy and a good friend to a lot of people," said Kay Culnane, owner of Maxwell House Tavern.

Clancy owned a small produce stand located near North Ash Street. His longtime friend, Nancy Lokken, said he would give all his wilted and unsellable produce for her chickens. "So then from then on, he'd call me at home everyday and go 'cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck cluck, chicken lady' and he'd laugh," said Lokken.

In turn, she would bring him farm fresh eggs. "He could give the eggs to other people, or for him and Judy," said Lokken.

His friends said Clancy was known to give things away. "The daycare would go by and he'd hand them all an apple," said Culnane.

She said it was such a shock when she and her husband heard the news that Clancy died in a car accident. "He was sitting in here having a coffee probably 20 minutes before the call," said Culnane.

His friends said he left this world quickly, but the memory of his generosity will last forever. "He's a legend here in Spokane, he is truly a legend," said Lokken.

Neighbors said all the money he made at the stand was donated back to the community, such as C.O.P.S. West. He also gave away items to those who couldn't afford to buy anything. Clancy told KXLY4 in a previous story in the early 1990s that he had a good reason for his donations. "Cause I'm retired from the military and the city. I don't need the money," said Clancy.

Friends said his generosity was only a part of his personality. They also said he was just as quick to joke with someone as he was to help someone in need.

"He just said, 'I just wanted to give back,'" said Culnane.