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In Memory Of Our Poets

Mr. Carlton McLendon (1912-2004) (Manual Arts 1932-1933)

Carlton McLendon, known among all his friends, as simply Big Carlton, was no ordinary man. A warm, kindly, Southern gentleman, he never knew a stranger. Although he was never good with remembering people's names, he always made you feel as if you had been his very best friend forever. When he greeted you, it was always with a twinkle in his eyes, and a humorous comment that made you smile both inside and out.

Big Carlton was born near Montgomery, Alabama on July 12, 1912. He realized early in his teens, that he had a penchant for working with his hands. Woodworking became his medium. He started carving, then repairing, then making small pieces of furniture for himself and family. With his gregariousness as a person and his skill as a craftsman, it was only natural that he would soon rise to become a nationally recognized furniture manufacturer.

In 1971, Big Carlton sold his entire business and moved to Atlanta to be close to his daughter, Carlynn, who had become increasingly ill at the time. In 1977 he started a new business, Carlton's Veneers and Rare Woods.

He enjoyed numerous recognitions, some of which included a title, "The Finest Victorian Furniture Maker in America", recognition in Time Magazine and a front-page article of the New York Times, a featured article in the Atlanta Journal, and a designation by the Mayor of Montgomery of Carlton McLendon Day in his honor. He was also featured in an article in Atlanta Magazine, in which it was said, "he came, he sawed, he conquered."

He lectured extensively on the qualities of various woods, the manufacture of furniture, and was awarded an honorary degree from Auburn University.

Carlton died after a long illness, at Hospice Atlanta, on December 26, 2004. A memorial service will be held at Northside Presbyterian Church, 4300 Northside Drive, Atlanta, 30327, on Wednesday, December 29th at 1 o'clock.

  • In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to
    • The Hospice Atlanta Center
      1244 Park Vista Drive
      Atlanta GA 30319
    •  or to your favorite charity.

We will miss him greatly, but the memory of this wonderful, kind gentleman will endure the passing of time.

He is survived by his wife, Vivian Wallace McLendon of Atlanta; a sister, Laurie House of Montgomery, Alabama; two grandsons, Grady S. Clinkscales, III, of Atlanta; and Dr. Carlton M. Clinkscales, of Denver, Colorado; two great-grandsons, Carlton M. Clinkscales, Jr. and Alexander Otto Clinkscales, of Denver, Colorado; a son-in-law, Dr. Grady S. Clinkscales, Jr.; and a daughter-in-law, Peggy C. Clinkscales, both of Atlanta.

H.M. Patterson & Son, Spring Hill, (404) 876-1022.

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on December 28, 2004.

Notification provided by Christina 'Tina' Leigh Pass.