John L Clay
July 04, 1946 - April 25, 2011
A man of integrity, insight, compassion and fierce loyalty to those he loved.
On the evening of April 25, 2011, John L. Clay passed away peacefully at home following a long and valiant battle with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. John was born on July 4, 1946 in Great Falls, Montana to Charles and Elizabeth (Lou) Clay. He is survived by his brother, Charles and sister Diane. He was raised in and around the Great Falls area, graduating from Great Falls High School in 1964. John joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served two tours of duty in Viet Nam. He left active duty in 1968 with an honorable discharge and the rank of Sergeant.
After a particularly harsh and snowy winter following his return to Montana, John left to visit his brother in Washington State and ended up living there for the next 41 years. He met his future wife, Linda (LaFave) Clay while attending Edmonds Community College in 1970. They enjoyed 39 years of marriage, raising three sons, John Adam, (Sara), Ryan (Jess), and Nathan (Heather).
John graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Land Management, and worked as a Washington State Park Ranger for three years, living in Potholes State Park. He returned to the UW twice, for a Bachelor’s in Building Construction and a Master’s in Electrical Engineering. He was owner/operator of Clay Electric on Camano Island for nearly 25 years before going to work as an electrical inspector, then building official for the cities of Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.
After his illness demanded he leave his work behind, John spent as much time as he could in Montana. John and Linda’s home in Fort Benton became both refuge and therapy, with his tractoring, fence mending, gardening and general maintenance keeping him busy and at peace. They treasured their summers together there and the memories of summer and plans for the coming spring kept him occupied over the winter.
A lifelong outdoorsman, John enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking. He was also a skilled woodworker and created a variety of works of art for many friends and family. He instilled his deep respect and love of the out of doors in his sons and each has many fond memories of camping, fishing and hunting trips as a family as well as alone with their dad.
John was a man of integrity, insight, compassion and fierce loyalty to those he loved. The world is a better place for having had him in it. Memories of him will be long treasured by those who knew him and he will be missed forever by the loved ones he left behind.
Looking into the portals of eternity
Looking into the portals of eternity teaches that the brotherhood of man is inspired by God's word; Then all prejudice of race vanishes away.
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each, I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes, there were two sets of footprints, so I said, "Lord, you promised me, that you would walk with me always. Why, when I have needed you most, would you leave me?" The Lord replied, "My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."