Gregory Glenn Claflin made his last great climb on Dec. 11, 2010, this time to the greatest height: heaven. Born in Detroit on June 23, 1957, Greg grew up in Phoenix and then he moved to Ohio and then to Two Harbors, Minn., where he graduated from high school in 1975.
Gregory joined the U.S. Army in 1975, became an Army Ranger, attended jump school, high-altitude low-opening school and completed 353 jumps. He was both a small weapons and demolition expert along with high-altitude climbing. His graduate climb was the Eiger in Switzerland. He also climbed Mt. Rainer in Washington, Mt. McKinley in Alaska and Annapurna in the Himalayas. In August 1979, he received an Army Accommodation for saving the lives of climbers in Washington State.
Greg joined the Air Force from 1980-86 and served as an Air Force Firefighter Rescuer. Ever the adventurer, Greg went to Alaska from 1990-95 to work on a catcher/processor crab boat as a deck hand. He started with Enbridge in 1996 in Superior, Wis., then moved to Burlington, Ill., and finally to Guthrie, Okla., to work in Cushing.
His tenacious spirit didn’t let down for a moment when he learned he had Stage 4 Esophageal Cancer late this summer. He maintained his dignity and sense of humor to the very end with his family, co-workers and friends.
He is preceded in death by his father, Amos Claflin, and survived by his loving wife, Luanne (Hume) Claflin of Guthrie; his son, Damien DeLany of Conshohocken, Penn.; his stepchildren, Megan (Hume) Knickerbocker of Atlanta, Ga., and Andrew Hume of Goldsboro, N.C.; and his grandchildren, Luke Knickerbocker and Elle Hume.
The family is grateful to Hospice of Oklahoma County and Integris Hospice House for their care in Greg’s final days. A memorial service was held at New Covenant United Methodist Church in Edmond, Okla., on Friday, Dec. 17.