BILLINGS — Floyd "Creeky" Creekmore, a former Montana rancher who held the record as the world's oldest performing clown, has died at age 98, his son said Tuesday.
Creekmore died Saturday night in his Billings home of complications from heart disease, Dave Creekmore said.
Creeky turned to rubber noses and orange wigs in the 1980s, after retiring from his previous life ranching and building homes. He joined the Shriners, which holds circus performances to raise money for its hospitals, and he put in thousands of hours of entertaining sick and well children, his son said.
In 2012, Guinness World Records recognized the then-95-year-old Creeky as the world's oldest performing clown. A previous stroke had knocked the juggling out of his act, but he still regularly donned the multicolored jacket and yellow hat to delight the young and old with a magic trick or a gag.
He stopped performing later that year when his wife of 74 years, Betty Creekmore, died. Creeky continued to attend Shriners' clown meetings, but he never put on the makeup again, Dave Creekmore said.
Creeky performed his last trick in July at a friend's 90th birthday party. He told a woman to tie two scarves together and then — with a leering eye toward his audience — announced that he would stuff the scarves down the front of her blouse.
Two men grabbed an end of each scarf and pulled as hard as they could. A bra popped out, tied between the scarves, leaving the crowd to roar and the lady to grasp at her blouse.
"You should have seen him. He came alive, with a sparkle in his eye and a dip in his step," Dave Creekmore.
Creeky was hospitalized last month by an infection in his intestines. He was released from the hospital about a week later, but he never really recovered, his son said.
But to the end, he kept his passion for clowning.
"A lot of people go clear through life and are never really passionate about something," Dave Creekmore said. "Boy, he had the passion. He jumped into that with both feet."