Marie Clay

May 19, 1926February 22, 2021

Marie Sparks Clay passed away peacefully on February 22, 2021. Born on May 19, 1926 in Asheville, NC to William Spurgeon and Ruby Waddell Sparks. She graduated from Lee H. Edwards High School in Asheville. Marie earned an Associate’s Degree from Mars Hill College in 1945 and a B.A. degree in Sociology from her beloved Furman University in 1947. At Furman, she served as the president of the Baptist Student Union, was inducted into Senior Order and was listed in Who’s Who of American Colleges.

After graduation, she served as a social worker for the Greenville County Family Court and attended graduate school at the University of Chicago School of Social Work. She returned to Family Court supporting families and children until the late 50s. Throughout her adult life, Marie was an active member of First Baptist Church Greenville, serving in numerous leadership roles: deacon, WMU and directed the 7th grade Sunday School Dept. for over 20 years. She served on local boards for the PTA, YWCA, The Boys Home of the South and the Peace Center Outreach Program. She was active in the Carolinian Debutante Club and the 13th District Pharmaceutical Association Auxiliary. She was a dedicated community volunteer, always willing to help others.

In 1953, Marie met and married Ned Clay and they remained happily married for over 65 years until his death in 2019. They are survived by two children, Buddy (Marianne) Clay and Marie (Skip) Hall and five grandsons: Dylan, Grayson and Walker Clay, and Clay and Preston Hall. She was pre-deceased by a sister, Margaret Sparks Kolb and a brother, William Spurgeon Sparks.

Due to COVID, there will be a private family service at the gravesite.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to First Baptist Church 847 Cleveland St. Greenville, SC 29601, United Ministries, 606 Pendleton St. Greenville SC 29601 or to the charity of one’s choice.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Marie Clay

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