Wanted, Dead or Alive: Clem Tillion

Death-Themed Party to Honor Halibut Cove Statesmen
Marcia Lynn


     While many of his friends have affectionately called Halibut Cove resident Clem Tillion boisterous, they are now hoping he displays that trait at a special gathering this Saturday night across Kachemak Bay.
     The so called “Clem Tillion – Dead or Alive Party” has been in the works for a while says Clem’s friend, party organizer and former fellow legislator Mike Syzmanski.  
     He says for the last 15 years or so Clem has talked about a dream he had that by the fall of 2012 he’d be dead.  That story was then passed around to all of his  fishing friends and acquaintances that number in the hundreds from his long time involvement with Alaska’s commercial fishing industry.  
     So about two years ago Symanski called his bluff, said he was tired of listening to his story and made a deal, “In the fall of 2012 we’re throwing a party for you and I’ll buy the booze.  If, on the other hand, you’re not in the coffin, and walking around, I’ll buy the booze.”
    He picked this Saturday, September 29th to hold the party.   It was good timing—just before the start of a North Pacific Fishery Council meeting in Anchorage; which means a lot of Clem’s old fishing cronies will be in the area.  
     They include Glen Reed of Seattle who’s also a Scotch connoisseur just returning from a Whiskey Tour in Scotland.  He’ll come armed with a special bottle for toasting Saturday night.  Reed says party goers will be asked to share Clem stories.
     There were a few times when Clem tried to weasel out of the deal, like after his doctor daughter Martha insisted he get a bum heart valve replaced.  Nonetheless Symanski remained steadfast insisting that the party go on “dead or alive.”
     Everyone one is indeed hoping Clem will be alive and well, come Saturday, but the coffin will still be put to good use.  It’ll be lined with plastic and filled with ice for beverage storage.