The life of Cliff Gant could be described in many ways.
He was a man of many endeavors. He was an inventor, fitness enthusiast and served in the United States Air Forces during the Vietnam War.
“I don’t think you could find anybody in this whole town that would have anything bad to say about him,” said Penny Combs, Gant’s partner of 14 years.
Gant died at the age of 77 on Feb. 7 after a battle with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of cancer that develops in the squamous cells that make up the middle and outer layers of the skin. According to Combs, Gant’s final days were spent with her and some of his kids visited him in Lake Havasu City prior to this death. Combs said Gant had a total of eight children.
“He was always worried about people not eating properly or right,” Combs said. “It was unusual for him to get cancer when he took so good care of his own body.
Gant was involved in the fitness community in Lake Havasu City, lecturing residents on health and fitness and inventing the Ultimate Push-Up and the All American Fitness Bar – the latter being an invention with his business partner Walter Spawr of Spawr Industries.
According to a 2013 article from the News-Herald, the All American Fitness Bar made its way to Titan Gym & Fitness Center, located on 3325 Maricopa Avenue. In that same article, the Ultimate Push-Up, which are pancake-sized discs that make push-ups easier, was ready for marketing, but the marketing firm held off their plans to push the product and a similar invention came and gained traction.
Spawr, 80, described Gant as a “unique,” “kind,” and “innovative” person.
“He was the kind of person you’d like to have as a close friend,” Spawr said.
Spawr’s business partnership with Gant was “cordial” and they would listen to each other’s ideas very often. The two knew each other since 2010 and they met when Gant was doing a push-up demonstration at a local restaurant. Spawr decided to see Gant’s demonstration after hearing about it through an advertisement on a local radio station.
“We had an awful lot in common apparently,” Spawr said “You know when you first meet somebody and you know right away that you’re going to get along really well and be friends for a long time.”
Combs said Gant’s youngest daughter Melissa Gant and his second oldest son Matthew Gant have taken over the sales for the All American Fitness Bar. Spawr still currently has the patent and Combs added that he has a partnership with the two siblings and they are going to try to sell the rest of the bar’s inventory online.
Combs’ relationship with Cliff Gant started when the two met at BJ’s Cabana Bar on McCulloch Boulevard. The two met two years after Combs’ husband Bill passed away.
She recalled the night she met her “country cowboy.”
“I was having a bad night and (my daughter) Cindy said, ‘I’m going to pick up mom, we’re going to go down to BJ’s,’” Combs said. “Then walked in was this handsome cowboy and the first thing he said was ‘Can I dance’ and then I said ‘Yes sir.’”
The two decided to not get married and elected to have a commitment ceremony instead six months after they got together, Combs said.
Combs became emotional when she was asked to describe Gant as a person. She said he was a “superman” and his mind was like “mother earth.”
“He was a loving, caring man and he would give the shirt off his back for anybody because that was the kind of man he was. If he could help you and if he could find a way, he would do just that. He was just a super guy.”