Let’s Talk Clovis: Remembering “Mr. Clovis” Rex Phebus

Rex “Mr. Clovis” Phebus, October 17, 1920 – March 3, 2013. (Clovis Museum)

Rex Phebus was born in Clovis on October 17, 1920 and died on March 3, 2013. He would be known as “Mr. Clovis”.

Rex’s membership of 72 years with the Clovis Rodeo Association, his 30 years as Director of the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building, his service in World War II, his dedication to the youth and senior citizens of Clovis validates his leadership and commitment to his community and nation.

When Rex was born, his father George owned a grocery store near the southeast corner of Tollhouse and Third Street. Rex attended Clovis Grammar School and graduated from Clovis High School in 1938. 

He excelled in baseball and won the coveted Sassano Blanket Baseball Award his senior year. He then became a member of the Fresno Dale Brothers championship softball team and in 1952, he helped establish the Clovis Boys Baseball League.

Rex served in the U.S. Army in World War II (1942-1945) in the Burma and China theaters. He opened a gas station at 7th and Clovis Avenue. It was a “go to” place and many Clovis youths worked at his station.

He became Director of the Clovis Veterans Memorial District in 1953 and continued his guidance of youth as they played in the gymnasium that has been since remodeled into a ballroom.

Rex coordinated after school programs for both the City of Clovis and the Clovis Unified School District. He received a resolution from State Assemblyman Ernest Mobley in 1970 for his dedication to the youth of Clovis.

Rex was always a champion of Clovis senior citizens. In 1969, he supported the formation of the “Jolly Times” senior citizens group and their traditional Thanksgiving dinner. He was honored at the dedication of the City’s Senior Citizen Roundup Transit bus system.

Rex retired from the district in 1984 and the Clovis Veteran’s Memorial Building was renamed “The Rex Phebus Veterans Memorial Building”.

He received the first “Clovis Citizen of the Year” award from the Clovis Independent in 1974 for his outstanding contribution to the Clovis Rodeo Association and the youth of Clovis.

His father, George Phebus, joined the Clovis Day Festival Association in 1928 (named changed to Clovis Rodeo Association in 1949). Rex joined the group in 1938. His dad was selected Grand Marshal of the Clovis parade in 1934 and Rex received the same honor in 1994.

“Mr. Clovis” left us a rich heritage.

Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.