Clinton County learned the news of the death of a second well-known native son this week, John Woodrum, who made his way from Albany in the early 1960s to Las Vegas, where he rose to become one of the most successful and most respected businessmen in the early history of that city.
Known as John in the Las Vegas area he called home for the past 50 years, he was fondly referred to simply as “J.G.” to his family and friends here.
Woodrum died Friday, January 3, after an extended illness, at the age of 75, near his home just outside of Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada. A complete death notice for Woodrum appears this week on page 4.
His passing last week came just days after the Clinton County News had reported the death of another well-respected native who had also left this county decades ago to find fame and fortune elsewhere, Russell Miller, a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Vice President.
Although Woodrum seldom returned home to Albany and Clinton County, his native roots remained deeply embedded in his heart, and Clinton County visitors to the Las Vegas area were often showered with benefits from Woodrum when he learned of their presence in his area.
Woodrum also provided a host of local people with employment opportunities through the years, either in his own hotel and casino facility, or in facilities operated by others in the Las Vegas area.
Woodrum had also been an athlete for Clinton County High School, a basketball player for Coach Lindle Castle, and he continued to remain close to the athletic world when he arrived and made his home in Las Vegas.
One of his most famous legacies was his connection with the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” neon sign that stands still on Las Vegas Blvd and is the site of hundreds of photographs taken each day.
At one point several years ago, Woodrum ran electrical supply lines to power the sign from his own Klondike Hotel and Casino that was situated just a few hundred yards away from the iconic sign.
Local attorney and historian David Cross, contacted the Clinton County News last week and said he felt compelled to write a brief historical account of the lives of Woodrum and Miller after considering the odds that two native Clinton County sons with such similar, humble starts, would each leave this county decades ago, make fame and fortunes for themselves, then die within a week of each other.
Cross also correctly points out that there has been at least one generation and now the start of another generation here that aren’t really aware of the existence of these two men, nor the impact they had on society away from their Clinton County roots.
The Clinton County News would like to express its appreciation to Cross for his work in this regards, and we hope our readers enjoy his account of these two well-known Clinton County sons, which begins on page 1.