John Carlton Lay

October 30, 1948April 6, 2023
Obituary of John Carlton Lay
John Carlton Lay, 74, of Austin, passed away peacefully after a four-year battle with ALS on April 6, 2023, surrounded by his wife and children. John was born October 30, 1948 to Alice and Wallace Lay. A proud 4th generation Texan and lifelong Austinite, his childhood home was across the street from the University of Texas campus – an area John cherished, as that footprint is now a part of campus. He attended Austin High, was part of the first graduating class of Reagan High School, and then graduated from the Business School at UT Austin. John went on to have a 35-year career with Xerox and was committed to his community. He was elected to two consecutive terms on the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees, served on the Ballet Austin board, as well as the Colorado River Alliance (CRA) board. As a result of John’s lifelong dedication and love of the river, CRA honored him by renaming its annual award to the “John Lay River Hero Award.” One of John’s favorite spots on the Colorado River was his farm near Utley, Texas. The land has been in his family for nearly 150 years, and he enjoyed releasing rehabilitated wildlife and working the land during his retirement. John leaves behind a tremendous legacy by having made a positive impact on every person he encountered. He was a dedicated and selfless friend, colleague, public servant, coach, but above all else - the best husband, father, and grandfather. John never lost his sense of humor, and even when he lost his voice, John still found a way to make everyone laugh. Though John’s last few years were challenging, he never complained and remained grateful and enthusiastic for the life he was living. John said it best, “What a life. I don’t believe that I could have planned it any better. Let's cherish and celebrate each day. I'm lucky to have my fantastic family and friends. Every day is a gift and we should surround ourselves with people who make us smile.” And John made all of us smile every day and truly left the world a better place. John is survived by his wife of 41 years, Jill; his daughter, Stephanie Duncan and her husband Clayton; his daughter, Celeste Lay; his son, Robert Spurck and his wife Katie; his son, Carl Lay and his wife Paige; his daughter, Sally Allen and her husband DJ; his grandchildren Campbell and Parker Duncan; Sophie and Stella Spurck; Tatum and Whitney Lay; Alice and Drew Allen; and last but not least his loyal dog, Milly. A special thank you to all the wonderful caregivers, and especially Janie, who tirelessly took care of John and always laughed at his jokes. Visitation will be from 5:00-7:00pm on Tuesday, April 11 at Weed-Corley-Fish (5416 Parkcrest Dr., Austin). Services and fellowship will be held at 1:30pm on Wednesday, April 12 at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church (8134 Mesa Dr., Austin). Burial will be held following the services at Austin Memorial Park Cemetery (2800 Hancock Dr., Austin). In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to his incredible doctor on the forefront of ALS research, The Methodist Hospital Foundation, designated to Dr. Stanley Appel Research; or in honor of his stewardship of the river, Colorado River Alliance; or in honor of his love for animals, Austin Wildlife Rescue.

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Past Services

Tuesday, April 11, 2023


Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Funeral Service

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Committal Service