Robert Clary (Courtesy The Clinton Herald)

Robert Clary (Courtesy The Clinton Herald)

Robert M. Clary


Robert M. Clary
48 YOA
419 1/2 14th Avenue S.
Clinton, IA (Jurisdiction)
Clinton County
DCI Case # 82-05190
September 29, 1982

Case information provided by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Clinton Police Department

Robert M. Clary, 48, was shot in the chest at his Clinton, Iowa, mobile home sometime in the early morning hours on Wednesday, September 29, 1982.

Clinton County in Iowa
Clinton County in Iowa
Clinton in Clinton CountyClinton in Clinton County

Clary, a U.S. Army veteran who’d served in Korea, was twice-divorced and lived alone at the rented 419-1/2 4th Avenue South trailer parked next door to landlord Jackie Chadwick’s home.

According to a Clinton Herald article published Sept. 30, 1982, Chadwick said she noticed Clary’s door ajar early Wednesday morning and went to check on him. Inside, she found Clary’s fully-clothed body on the floor next to a blood-soaked chair and quickly notified the Clinton Police Department.

Clinton police said the death was reported about 7:30 a.m.

Chadwick told investigating officers she’d heard nothing during the night, though some neighbors reported having heard what they thought were gunshots around 5 a.m.

Clinton police Capt. Russell Bentley said there was no sign of any struggle at the crime scene, and investigators ruled out robbery as a motive.

Clinton police Chief Robert Jones, who’d grown up in the same neighborhood as Clary, had hung out with Clary when the two were younger but said they’d gone their separate ways as adults. Clary had most recently worked construction jobs but was currently unemployed.

After examining the crime scene, Jones asked the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to assist with the investigation.

Clary’s longtime friends and neighbors Robert and Linda Baughman told the Clinton Herald they believed their friend’s murder may be connected to a married woman he’d been dating. The couple allegedly had fought at a party three days before Clary’s murder, but Jones called the incident in question “nothing of any spectacular proportions.”

Robert Clary crime sceneCourtesy photo The Clinton Herald
Robert Clary was shot in the chest early on Sept. 29, 1982, at his rented mobile home at 419-1/2 4th Avenue South in Clinton. His landlord, Jackie Chadwick, lived next door and found his body.

On Tuesday, September 28, Clary had cashed an unemployment check in the amount of $83 and called the Davenport Union Hall to inquire about pipefitting work. He’d gone to Roy’s Place, a local Clinton tavern, about 7:30 p.m. and had two beers before telling friends he was going to go home to sleep but that he would be back later.

Clary never returned and his friends learned of his murder the following day.

Clinton County Medical Examiner Salvador Borja placed Clary’s time of death as approximately 5 a.m. on Wednesday, September 29.

When the DCI established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, Clary’s case was one of approximately 150 listed on the Cold Case Unit’s website as those the DCI hoped to solve using latest advancements in DNA technology.

Although federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit was exhausted in December 2011, the DCI continues to assign agents to investigate cold cases as new leads develop or as technological advances allow for additional forensic testing of original evidence.

The DCI remains committed to the resolution of Iowa’s cold cases and will continue to work diligently with local law enforcement partners to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the victims and their families.

Robert Clary’s unsolved murder is under the jurisdiction of the Clinton Police Department, where Clary’s files are maintained, (Ret.) Clinton police Captain Randy Meier told Iowa Cold Cases on June 3, 2014. Meier served as commander for the department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

About Robert M. Clary

Robert M. Clary was born in Clinton, Iowa on June 6, 1934, to Kenneth and Carmella (Spain) Clary.

Robert Clary gravestoneCourtesy photo Michael Kearney,
Robert Clary is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Clinton.

He served as a Specialist 3rd Class with the US Army during the Korean Conflict.

He married Doris Isabelle Luce on Nov. 26, 1955, and couple had six children: Robert, Shawn, Bryan, Stephen, Cindy, and Rose. The couple divorced in 1967.

Clary later remarried, but he and his second wife, Sandra, divorced in April 1982. He maintained amicable relationships with both ex-wives.

Robert Clary was laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery in Clinton, Clinton County, Iowa.

Information Needed

If you have any information regarding Robert Clary’s unsolved murder, please contact the Clinton Police Department at (563) 243-1458 or the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010.

  • (Ret.) Captain Randy Meier, Clinton Police Department Commander of Criminal Investigations Division, correspondence to Iowa Cold Cases, June 3, 2014
  • Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, former Cold Case Unit, November 25, 2009
  • Clinton Police Department
  • Robert M. Clary (1934 – 1982) – Find A Grave Memorial
  • RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project — Robert Clary,
  • “Clinton police probe murder,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, September 30, 1982
  • “Clary had routine day before death,” The Clinton Herald, September 30, 1982
  • Person Details for Robert Clary, “United States Social Security Death Index” —
  • Person Details for Robert M. Clary, “United States Public Records, 1970-2009” —
  • Person Details for Robert Clary in household of Kenneth Clary, “United States Census, 1940” —
  • “Neighbors, relatives remember victim,” The Clinton Herald, September 30, 1982


4 Responses to Robert Clary

  1. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    He is murdered about five months after his last divorce. Also, authorities seem to blow off the report of the fight with his latest supposed marred girlfriend. His friends were concerned to mention it.

    • Joseph W Teske says:

      Believe the married woman was my late grandma I was told she spent the night away from home….was told he was abusive….

      • Patrick Kerrigan says:

        Mr. Teske, I assume that supposedly Mr. Clary was abusive, and not your grandmother’s husband. However, Mr. Clary served in Korea, so he could have been dealing with what we now call PTSD. That would have contributed to his at least two marriages, and him having an affair with your grandmother.

        I worked with a Chief Quartermaster, on a submarine who had spent time on the riverboats in Vietnam. I noticed certain things going on with him. AS a former employee of the Veterans Administration, those things were signs of PTSD, from being in combat.

        • LakeLife says:

          I think it’s odd too that he divorced & a few months later he is dead but from what it says they were on good terms.
          I also think it was odd that he got into a fight with his new gf.
          Could he have fought with someone else too at the party?!
          Maybe someone who followed him home from the party & they spoke in the trailer?
          Then the person flipped out & murdered him.

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