Clement retired from the city council on Dec. 20, 2013 after 30 years. The former councilman began his service to the city on May 16, 1983.
“I was saddened to learn of the death of Howard Clement,” said Gov. Pat McCrory. “Howard made his mark as a civil rights leader, lawyer, business executive and as a public servant. His 30 years serving on Durham City Council was a record, and the city and the entire community were the beneficiaries of that dedication and service. Ann and I offer our prayers for the Clement family during this time of loss.”
At the time of Clement's retirement, he was the longest-serving member of the Durham City Council.
"I will always remember Howard Clement for the great conviction he showed in his work on behalf of the community," said Congressman G.K. Butterfield. "I extend my deepest sympathy to the Clement family during this difficult time. Durham is a better community because of the life and work of A.J. Howard Clement, III."
Wednesday night, Clement was being remembered as a giant of a leader, from his days as a civil rights activist in the 1960s to his time in the General Assembly and his service on the Durham City Council.
“Howard, in a way, was sort of the voice of the conscience of this community, especially when it came to African-American issues,” Bell said.
For others who served with him on the City Council, Clement is considered one of the fathers of Durham.
“He was one the people that everyone turned to for wisdom and institutional memory about our city and about our community,” said Councilman Steve Schewel.
In the Durham neighborhood where Clement lived and represented for so many years, neighbors were remembering him fondly.
“He used to look out for people. He was a good man,” said Greg White.
“I remember Mr. Clement as a person who came to the aid of people in distress, and I was one of them,” said James Devonn, Jr.
Clement was a long-time executive with the North Carolina Mutual life insurance company.
One of the things everybody remembered about Clement was that he didn’t drive because of a medical condition. He either took the bus or got a ride, even from council members who he had headed committee debates with.