L. Clements Breast Cancer Research, with the goal of eliminating breast cancer through research at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. “Having a philanthropic donor like Ginny is essential,” said Joyce Schroeder, who is conducting research on a drug that appears to block the growth and metastasis of breast cancer cells. “The preclinical work wouldn’t be happening if it were not for Ginny.” Ginny and Bill Clements met in San Francisco, where the two were neighbors. A whirlwind romance ensued, and Bill proposed marriage 2½ weeks after they met. They married in 1966 and moved to Phoenix the following year. Bill’s father owned a distilled spirits company, and he wanted his son, who was a chemical engineer, to take over. Their two children, Christopher and Kimberly, were born in Phoenix. In 1974, the family moved to Tucson to start Golden Eagle Distributors – the local distributor of Anheuser-Busch products. In Tucson, the Clements formed a strong bond with the Gootters. Chris Clements and Claudine Messing attended St. Gregory College Preparatory School together. Bill Clements gave Steve Gootter his first job, working as a Budweiser representative at the UA, where he was a student. But in 1994, Bill Clements was diagnosed with cancer, and died just 10 weeks later. “My children had just joined the business,” Ginny Clements recalled. “We buried Bill and I said, ‘I have a business to run.’ ” She said her faith pulled her through. “My mother taught me to always trust in God and everything would be OK.” For eight years, Clements led the business, and she remains chairman of the board. Kimberly Clements is president and secretary/treasurer of Gold-
en Eagle and Chris is vice chair of the board and CEO. “They are good business partners,” Clements said. “I’m very proud of the children.” David Sitton met the Clements family when he landed a gig in the marketing department at Golden Eagle in 1979. Their friendship has endured throughout the years. “When Bill passed away, Ginny and her children had to fill some pretty big shoes,” Sitton recalled. “They are absolutely carrying on the business, the spirit of philanthropy and Bill’s legacy. It’s not easy to take a thriving business and maintain or accelerate its success – and that is what they have done.” Ginny Clements has again found love, marrying Tom Rogers three years ago. “We are very much in love. We travel. I go to car shows with him. He comes to fine arts events with me. We love basketball – the Cats and the Suns.” She treasures the time she spends with grandkids Gracie, Colt, Preston, Brian, Emma and Rilan. “I just like being with them and holding them and kissing them. I am not the old-fashioned grandma, but I love being with them.” She said the Gootter award is very meaningful. “We have known the Gootters more than 30 years. I am honored to receive the award, from one family to another.” Chris Clements, who is also president of the board of the family’s philanthropic Wings Like Eagles Foundation, said, “When the Gootter Foundation was formed, we immediately offered our assistance – and we’ve never wavered.” “Philanthropy is the cornerstone of everything we do,” he continued. “My mom and dad instilled in us the principles of servant leadership in our busicontinued on page 38 >>>
Next Generation of Researchers As the nephew of Steven Gootter, Drew Messing set about a task close to his family’s heart during his third-grade science fair project. Drew, a student at Castlehill Country Day School in Tucson, researched whether children could effectively perform the compression-only CPR method that is now recommended. He enlisted the help of Castlehill classmates – and asked for guidance from Clint
Drew Messing practices a
McCall and Melissa Ludgate from the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center to teach the proper technique. After instruction, most of the thirdthrough fifth-grade students were able to reach the goal of 100 compressions per minute. Drew went on to win first place in biomedical exhibits at the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair.
compression-only resuscitation method.
Winter 2013 > > > BizTucson 37
Photo courtesy of Castlehill Country Day School
Ginny Clements is out to conquer the world. This fireball of a philanthropist and businesswoman has faced more than her share of challenges along the way. She survived breast cancer at age 15 and the death of her beloved husband, Bill, from lung cancer. After Bill died in 1995, Clements was faced with the daunting task of running the family business – Golden Eagle Distributors – with her fresh-out-of-college kids. She learned the business from the ground up, and built it into the thriving corporation it is today. Through it all, Clements has carried on her husband’s legacy of making the world a better place through philanthropy. “Bill used to say to me and my children – as long as we have enough to live on, we must take care of other people,” Clements said. “I think he’s smiling up there. I think he’d say job well done.” Well done, indeed. Clements is being honored by the Steven M. Gootter Foundation with its 2013 Philanthropic Award, to be presented at the Gootter Grand Slam dinner March 16. The foundation is dedicated to defeating sudden cardiac death by supporting increased awareness, education and scientific research. It was formed to honor Gootter, a young Tucson father who died from sudden cardiac death in 2005. “Ginny is a very special person to our family,” said Claudine Messing, Gootter’s sister and VP of the Gootter Foundation. “The Clements family is a model of giving – not for the recognition but because it’s the right thing to do. They have a generosity of heart and spirit.” In addition to supporting the Gootter Foundation, Clements founded Ginny
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