Former Hamilton fine arts leader remembered for legacy of kindness

Clinton James Bean died May 28 leaving behind a legacy of strengthening not only the musical arts in the city schools but also throughout Hamilton and Cincinnati. Named Supervisor of Fine Arts for Hamilton Schools in 1979, Bean worked in that leadership position until 1996 and later was inducted into the Hamilton City Schools Fine Arts Hall of Fame.(Provided Photo/Journal-News)

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Clinton James Bean died May 28 leaving behind a legacy of strengthening not only the musical arts in the city schools but also throughout Hamilton and Cincinnati. Named Supervisor of Fine Arts for Hamilton Schools in 1979, Bean worked in that leadership position until 1996 and later was inducted into the Hamilton City Schools Fine Arts Hall of Fame.(Provided Photo/Journal-News)

A former Hamilton Schools music leader, who taught thousands of students vocal and performing arts, passed away recently.

Clinton James Bean, age 75, of Cincinnati, died May 28 leaving behind a legacy of strengthening not only the musical arts in the city schools but also throughout Hamilton and Cincinnati, said those who worked with him.

Named Supervisor of Fine Arts for Hamilton Schools in 1979, Bean worked in that leadership position until 1996 and later was inducted into the Hamilton City Schools’ Fine Arts Hall of Fame.

“Clinton Bean was a well-respected music teacher and Fine Arts Supervisor for the Hamilton City School District for many years,” said Joni Copas, spokeswoman for the 10,000-student school system.

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“He led the charge to better our fine arts programs and to renovate the Hamilton High School auditorium. Clinton always had a smile and was passionate about teaching his students and highlighting their many talents,” said Copas.

Bean was also a former Minister of Music for the Zion Baptist Church in Cincinnati and organized choral groups that on occasion performed with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

Hamilton Board of Education member Laurin Sprague said Bean was key to not only his former career as a music instructor in the city schools but for many students.

“Clinton hired me into the Hamilton Schools as a music teacher in 1983,” said Sprague.

“I remembered thinking at that time that even though he was small in stature, his smile and warm personality certainly made him seem much bigger,” he said.

“He was one of those people who you just wanted to be around because he was so uplifting and encouraging. As Hamilton Schools’ Fine Arts Supervisor he constantly advocated not only for the arts in our schools, but also for students. He wanted to give every child the opportunity to experience the arts on a personal level. Many of his students still remember him fondly for his kindness,” said Sprague.

“In 2001, Clinton retired, and I was selected to take his place. That’s when he became a mentor and more of a friend to me. We would talk fairly often and he would give me a lot of encouragement,” he said.

“I think many people, including students, teachers and administrators, feel the same way I do. We all had the profound privilege of knowing Clinton Bean as a big-hearted, caring man who had a positive impact on our lives,” said Sprague.

Walker Funeral Home, 2625 Gilbert Ave. in Cincinnati handled Bean’s services on June 5.

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