Butterworth Funeral Home - Arthur A Wright Chapel & Queen Anne Columbarium
520 W Raye St, Seattle, WA
Clayton Francis Boyce
July 25, 1925 – September 4, 2019
Clayton Francis BOYCE
After a long and full life, Clayton Francis Boyce was finally called home to heaven on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at the age of 94. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 68 years, Doris Maxine (Forbes) Boyce, and by his younger sister Shirley (Boyce) Dawson of Seattle. Before her death, Clayton took on sole responsibility of caring for Doris in the last years of her life as she struggled with dementia, reluctantly relinquishing that role only when he no longer had the physical strength to lift her up off the floor if she were to suffer a fall.
Clayton was born to Cecil and Elizabeth (“Bessie”) Boyce on July 25, 1925 in the little Eastern Washington town of Prosser not far from the Tri-Cities area. As a member of the ‘Greatest Generation’, Clayton faced many challenges over the course of his lifetime, including growing up during the Great Depression and serving in World War II, but the first great challenge of his life occurred on the day he was born. His mother had a difficult time with the birth (Clayton was her first child) and when the baby came, the doctor set him aside to attend to his mother, fearing for her life. It was only due to the combined efforts of Clayton’s father, a neighbor lady and his Grandmother Harris that they were able to get him breathing properly, thereby saving his life. As it was, Clayton was paralyzed on his right side for about 6 weeks after his birth.
Clayton’s childhood and school-age years were spent in Prosser and he experienced all of the material deprivation and wonderful boyhood adventures of a young boy growing up in a small town during the Depression years. He learned to work hard at an early age and that virtue never left him throughout his long life. It was in the eighth grade that Clayton first became interested in woodworking, taking a wood shop class as an elective. Woodworking became one of the principle hobbies and joys of his life and many in the family possess some item of finely made furniture or such that Clayton had made in his shop. Clayton was a man of great faith and his commitment to God and to the church was unwavering throughout his life, beginning as a legacy from his mother. From the time that he was a young boy, his mother used to read Bible stories to him and she made sure that church was a very important part of their family life. On January 22, 1939, at the age of thirteen, Clayton was baptized into Christ by Brother J. C. Bunn. Less than 3 years later, the United States was drawn into World War II by the attack on Pearl Harbor and this momentous event completely changed Clayton’s life, along with the lives of countless others. In his senior year of high school, Clayton was invited to join a Naval officer training program, which offer he accepted, intending on eventually being commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy and assigned to active duty in the war effort. However, within 3 months’ time, Clayton was informed that the program was overcrowded and learned that he, with many others, were to be discharged from the program and from the Navy. Not wanting to be drafted into the Army, Clayton decided to enlist in the U. S. Coast Guard and on July 23, 1943, reported for active duty as an Apprentice Seaman. He spent his first 2 years of service working as an electrician’s mate traveling up and down the coasts of Washington and Oregon, repairing lighthouses and other Coast Guard facilities. He was eventually assigned to a troop ship, the USS Admiral Mayo, on which he spent the remainder of his tour of duty and which took him both to Europe and to the Pacific theater, including stops at Okinawa, Korea and Japan. Clayton faithfully served his country until the war ended and was honorably discharged from the Coast Guard in April, 1946.
Shortly before Clayton enlisted in the Coast Guard, his parents sold the house in Prosser and the whole family relocated to Seattle where Cecil took a new job with the Union Oil Company. The family began attending the Greenlake Church of Christ in Seattle, where Clayton joined them after his discharge from the service and where, before long, he met a young woman by the name of Doris Maxine Forbes. They began dating and on June 18, 1949, Clayton and Doris were married, a marriage that was to last 68 years. The previous year, Clayton (or Clay, as he was known to friends and co-workers) was hired as an Outside Plant Repairman by the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, beginning a career with “Ma Bell” that lasted 36 years, ending with his early retirement at the age of 59. Clayton was first and foremost a man of great faith in God, demonstrated in his lifelong commitment to and involvement with the Churches of Christ. He was an excellent Bible class teacher and a leader in the church, which led to him serving for many years as first a deacon and then as an elder at both the Central Church of Christ and the Northwest Church of Christ. Clayton had a great love of music throughout his life and was also a song leader at church for many years. One of his particular joys was to get together at every opportunity a men’s quartet vocal group to practice singing the old gospel 4-part harmony repertoire. From his years in the Coast Guard, Clayton never lost his love of travel and many summers saw the family packed into the sedan for a trip somewhere, anything from a short day trip to a month-long road trip across the entire United States. Clayton is survived by his 3 children, sons Stephen Wayne Boyce and John Harold Boyce, and his daughter Susan Elizabeth Vincent, along with 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.