Colonel Clifford Donald Clay
November 24, 1935 – April 7, 2021
Colonel Clifford Donald Clay passed away on April 7, 2021 at the age of 85. He was a true Patriot, with the military being a large part in his life. He retired from the Army in 1987. He is survived by his loving wife, Patricia Ann Clay, brother, Fred Work (Bert), sister, Avery Nunn (Randy), brother, Rod Work (Patty) and brother, Joseph Joe Work. He was preceded by his parents, father Roderick Work, mother, Marie Work, brother Walter Jackson (Jack) Clay, his son, Donald Andrew Clay, who died at the age of 37 and his grandson, Donald Andrew Clay, Jr who died at the age of 15. He leaves his daughter, Annette Larsen and husband Michael; Kimberly Santa Cruz and husband Anthony; son Christopher Clay and wife Jaclyn; daughter Patricia Bonham and husband Hayden; and by marriage his daughter Pam Williams and husband Nick; and son Ray Jessup and wife Denise; grandchildren Clifford, Jose, Nicholas, Maria, Justin, Brandon, Micheal, and Jacob, and seven great-grandchildren. A celebration of life service to be held Tuesday morning, April 20, 2021, 8:30AM at Crawford Bowers Funeral Home with the visitation set for the night before Monday, April 19TH at the funeral home from 6PM-8PM.
Monday, April 19, 2021
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Colonel Clifford Donald Clay
April 26, 2021
On behalf of the Vietnam Veterans of the 6/27th Artillery Battalion, I want to express the sadness we feel at the passing of Colonel Don Clay. For those who served under him in Vietnam or those who were fortunate to have met him at reunions of the 6/27th, we all knew him as a one-of-a-kind guy. We will certainly miss him at our future reunions. We extend our sympathies to Patty Ann and the Clay Family.
April 17, 2021
Colonel Clifford Donald Clay, is a true American hero. He fought for his country for thirty years and raised his five children. He wanted nothing but the best for us, like his soldiers. When we were without or struggling; he stepped in. He picked us up; dusted us off and gave us a hand where needed. At times, he also gave us his opinion, with no filter.
In August 1997, my father Don; brother Donnie; myself and sister Maria were in an automobile accident which claimed the lives of Don and Donnie Clay (Colonel Clay's eldest son and eldest grandson). Don Clay, my father, and a father of three frog men in the navy, and eagle scout, are a few great achievements he accomplished-a direct reflection from his father, Colonel Clifford Donald Clay.
My father, Don Clay admired his father in many ways and wanted to share it with the world. He proudly named me after his father, engaged me in boy scouts and coached me in various sports. I exceled quite well in sports prior to my accident. In my eyes, Colonel Clifford Donald Clay made a hero out of his son, my father as well.
Unfortunately, after the accident I have struggled emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I have felt lost, not knowing which direction to take. I received $100,000.00 after the accident which I lost within a one-year time frame. I needed help and headed down a very dark road. My grandfather found out what had happened and immediately got me a plane ticket and flew me to Killeen, Texas. He helped me find a job at Ft Hood, TX and assisted me by enrolling me in College.
Over the years, my grandfather and I have become close. He is a loyal American and a dedicated grandfather to look up to and a true example of dedication, perseverance, love, and compassion.
May he rest in peace and may comfort come to all those who grieve over his loss. May he become a protective Guardian Angel for his family and to those within our family circle that are lost.
God bless you Grandpa, my hero!
Kimberly Santa Cruz
April 13, 2021
Dear Dad, I am so grateful that God allowed us the time to speak on Friday, before you passed. You didn't realize this at the time, but I REALLY needed to talk to you, but was perplexed on what I would say & how I would be. It took days, much prayer, advice and reading of scripture, to bring me to a place of Peace. When we finally spoke, I felt such a calm & forgiveness, come on me, "....that passes all understanding" Philippians 4: 7. It is our gift, from God, and a treasure I will always hold close to my heart.
Your precious Kimmy Lynn, your Vietnam baby, that's Me. I always loved to hear you tell the story of how my name was chosen; by the Australians that served along side you in Vietnam. Yes, through a raffle "Kimberly" was pulled from the hat; or was it a helmet? What fun!
I also remember, when you told me that everyone put their American flags out because it was MY birthday! It made me feel so special, and amazed that MY Dad could persuade people to do that. And then I read a calendar, and it said.... "Flag Day.", June 14. Thanks Dad I still think I'm pretty special!
Dad you're bigger than life, you lived life according to the terms that were dealt to you, and you loved in a way, that only you could. I wish I would have figured that part out sooner, but grateful that I did. I will love you always & everytime I look in the mirror, I'll see your eyes, staring back at me.
May God & his great mercy except you into his Beautiful Kingdom. Kimmie Lynn
April 13, 2021
I wanted to share a few memories of my Dad. I am the youngest of his children. Patricia Marie Bonham. My Dad always made me feel so special on my best days, worst days and all the ones in between. I will miss his big, booming voice on the telephone saying "hello my sweet baby girl, this is your daddy". Even at my age of 46 that's what I would hear when I answered the phone. You know how everyone has that one person in their life that will " never" die cause they are just too real and you can't even comprehend them not being here...My Dad was that for me. He would always tuck me in for bed and blow on my feet and sing goodnight. My times spent with him were always very special and he made me feel important when I didn't always feel that way. He would take me to the airport to return to my mother and I could see the sadness in his eyes. He will be greatly missed and forever in my heart and dreams. Sleep well Daddy, I will see you again. Love, your sweet baby girl Patricia Marie
April 11, 2021
Thank you, Dad for the gift of life. On August 17, 1962, you along with my mother, Roberta Louise Clay gave birth to your first daughter, Annette Louise Clay in Amarillo, Texas.
As I reminisce over my childhood years, I am flooded by enjoyable memories of trips to the beach, crabbing, camping, baseball games, homemade ice cream, movies, and more.
I was honored to have you by my side, to walk me to the hand of the man I would marry and spend the rest of my life with, Michael Ray Larsen in 1983. We were blessed with three sons-Nicholas Fasiano Larsen, Justin Clay Larsen and Brandon Davis Larsen. Justin Clay Larsen would marry Taylor Shae Larsen and now we currently have four grandchildren; Hunter Rai Larsen, Zoey Beth Larsen, Rylee Cheree Larsen and Lakyn Louise Larsen and “yes, your blood flows thru each and everyone of these grandsons and great-granddaughters” as you so proudly remind them.
We are also very blessed to have three handsome and loving young men in our lives that have been able to get to know you-their grandfather. You have been able to share wisdom and advice that they will carry with them throughout their adulthood.
We are extra blessed to have been able to visit with you just a little over a week before your passing along with your four beautiful and precious Great Granddaughters; Justin your grandson, and Taylor his wife. We were able to spend some long and over-due time together. Several years ago you convinced Justin, who is in the Army, to pursue Ranger and Airborne school which without your continued persuasion may not have come to realization.
I am so thankful for the time we have spent together, for your advice, the meaningful talks we have had and for your love and dedication for family. The one thing I have never doubted is that you have always loved your family! I love you dad! I’ll catch ya on the other side. P.S. Be nice to mom! ( ;
April 10, 2021
Remembering Colonel Don Clay on behalf of the members of the 14th Field Artillery Regiment Association. We are grateful for his service, for his friendship, and for his contributions to the Association.
Rest in Peace, Sir!
April 9, 2021
Sweet Patti Ann:
Time has a way of defining true friends. I have discovered that passing years and growing distance are ineffective obstacles to the mutual love between my friends and me. Perhaps it is because of our common walk with the Lord that we can just pick up where we left off whenever we are together. Such is the case with you and me. We celebrated our first meeting as wives of a couple of retired Army attendees (who served duty at the same time during the Vietnam war) at a reunion of the 14th Field Artillery Regiment a number of years ago when it was held in Branson, MO. You and Don were newlyweds. Our last time to be together was at the June 2016 Reunion at the 100th Anniversary of the 14th Field Artillery Regiment held in Lawton/Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
As the Clay and the Allen wives have enjoyed a shared friendship as wives to a couple of retired Army heroes proudly wearing the rank of "Honey", "Sweetheart", and "Darling", the foursome's time spent together must now be changed by "one less"
as we have experienced the final visit here on earth with our dear friend, Don. We claim the passage of Colossians 2:3-14 and the lyrics to the song, "Friends" and find comfort in the message as a reminder that God's love unites people as friends forever!
.. "though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long to live as friends."
My love, Neva Allen, Tyler, Texas
April 9, 2021
I first met Don Clay in the late summer of 1969 amidst the ugliness of the Vietnam war. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 9th Field Artillery as Battalion Executive Officer (XO). I was the Battalion Commander at that time and badly in need of a good XO to free me up for managing the combat aspects of the battalion. Don was the PERFECT XO. We had to manage 5 fire Bases including 2 Special Forces Fire Bases on the Cambodian border. From the moment Don joined the battalion, he took charge of his responsibilities and I knew immediately that I had nothing to worry about at the headquarters in Tay Ninh. What a relief! From the beginning of his arrival, I knew I had no concerns about managing the headquarters and all of the issues that go with the job. Having Don as my XO made me a better commander and I have always been grateful for his loyalty and efficiency. The headquarters' men respected him and knew they were in good hands.
We lost contact with each other after I departed Vietnam and renewed our connection through the 14th Field Artillery Regiment Association when we both attended our first Association reunion several years ago. It was such a pleasure to meet him again and from that point we became good friends. At that reunion, we shared our first reconnection and created a new memory when we loaded Neva's van with seven very hungry retired old soldiers for an evening dining at the Chicken Shack. As I recall, chicken was served on the main street level and seafood was served downstairs. It was discovered that the evening special was an unlimited supply of Main lobsters on the serving buffet line. Needless to say, we both over-indulged at this once in a lifetime event -- probably eating more than all seven in attendance. Unforgettable! This may be a little exaggerated but it showed these two old guys still had it in them to be competitive even at their ages.
We will miss Don very much. God bless you all.
Loma Allen, Tyler, Texas
Johnny & Pam Singleton
April 9, 2021
Annette, we are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. May God give you peace and comfort and strength in the days ahead. Let us be thankful for the time you had together and always treasure the memories.