Clinton Blount
Clinton Blount
Clinton Blount

Obituary of Clinton Maywood Blount

Clinton M. Blount of Aptos, CA died on February 22 of complications from Covid. He was 76. 

Clinton was a loving husband, a beloved uncle and a highly respected anthropologist, ethnographer and oral historian.  

California Native Americans were the focus of Clinton’s long career. He played a significant early role in the protection and preservation of cultural resources, conducting some of the first cultural resource and traditional cultural property studies in Central and Northern California, especially those involving large infrastructure improvement projects. He was also among the first researchers to use the newly compiled notes of legendary ethnographer and linguist John P. Harrington.  

Clinton’s ethnographic work among the Native American Pomo communities of Lake Sonoma in 1974 was the first federally sponsored purely ethnographic research aimed at developing mitigation recommendations for a large federal project. Equally groundbreaking was his work on the Gasquet-Orleans Road (G-O Road) project. This project, which dealt with Native religious practices, eventually made its way to the Supreme Court and was in many ways a precursor to the development of the study of Traditional Properties under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. 

Over many decades, Clinton also worked on numerous oral history projects, including a multi-year recording project for the U.S. Army’s Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County; the oral history of Doc Rickett’s Lab (immortalized by John Steinbeck) for the City of Monterey; the oral autobiography of Tom Cade, leader of the recovery program for U.S. populations of the Peregrine falcon; and the oral history of the W.W. II defenders of Wake Island. At the time of his death, he was engaged by the CA State Parks in an oral history of the early leaders of its resource management program. 

Clinton had a passion for discovery. If there was a jewel to be found, he unearthed it—a fishing hole in the Sierra, a hat store in Oakland, a used bookstore on Cape Ann, a bar in North Beach, a bistro in Paris. When his interest was piqued, he dove in and learned everything there was to know about a subject: music, food, travel, photography. A late-in-life love of chamber music inspired him to join the volunteer corps at Music@Menlo, where he was a stalwart for many summers. No one made a better Manhattan than Clinton. 

Clinton was born in Sacramento in 1947, the only child of Charles and Leone Blount. He received a B.A. (1970) and M.A. (1971) in Anthropology at California State University, Sacramento. 

He is survived by his wife, Margo Crabtree; his brothers-in-law Art Crabtree and Bill Hirsch; his sisters-in-law Vicki, Bobbi and Betsy Crabtree; his niece Katharine Egan-Lustrin (Mike); and his nephews Toby Crabtree (Monika), Ben Crabtree (Chelsea), Zach Egan and Brady and Jack Hirsch. He was predeceased by his brothers-in-law Peter Crabtree and Tom Egan. 

Donations in Clinton’s memory may be made to the Second Harvest Food Bank, Watsonville, California. 

A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, June 15th, from 2-5 pm at Bargetto Winery on 3535 North Main Street, Soquel, CA. Please RSVP by May 20 at

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Celebration of Life

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Saturday, June 15, 2024
Bargetto Winery
3535 North Main Street
Soquel, California, United States