James Thomas Clay was born Feb. 10, 1950, in Broken Bow. He passed away Nov. 7, 2013, in Lincoln in Bryan Hospital.
Jim is survived by sisters, Jean Anderson and husband Dillard of North Platte, Liz Baker of Kenosha, Wisc., and Dawn Johnson of Merna; brothers, Lawrence Clay and wife Judy of Horton, Kan., and Roger Clay of Merna; plus nieces, nephews and a host of Clay and Christensen relatives.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph Clay and Betty Christensen Clay of Merna; brother, Pat Clay of Tigerd, Ore.; and sisters, Anita Clay Campbell of Grand Island, and Sandra Clay Meinhardt of Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Jim spent his childhood and youth in and around Merna. He traveled around and spent some time with sister, Dawn, and nephew, Barry, while attending Sargent High School.
Jim joined the Army and spent a tour of duty in Okinawa and Viet Nam. He got his GED while in the Army and later attended McCook Junior College, graduating with honors.
After college he worked for the railroad until health reasons interfered. He then became a cross-country truck driver. During this time he married Peggy Helgoth from the Burwell area. They later divorced, but remained good friends up to the day of his death.
He worked for a brief period of time as janitor at Anselmo-Merna Schools and then worked for Adams Land & Cattle.
He won a contract with the United States Postal Service carrying mail from Broken Bow to Callaway. At the time of his death, he also had contracts for the Oconto to Callaway route and had recently branched out to the Bushnell area, being based at Kimball.
Jim enjoyed Nebraska football and always, if possible, watched the games on TV. In fact, while he was in the hospital in Lincoln, he watched the Nebraska-Northwestern game (along with Dawn). He loved the ending of that game!
Jim, Anita and Pat all had Marfan’s Syndrome, a disease which affects the blood vessels and heart. This disease was inherited from his mother, Betty Christensen. She and many of her relatives, including mother and two brothers and sisters, died from the result of Marfan’s. This is why the family is requesting that memorials be made to the Marfan’s Syndrome Foundation to aid in further research.
A memorial service was held Tuesday, Nov. 12, in Govier Brothers Mortuary Chapel in Broken Bow with Pastor Barry Johnson officiating. Inurnment will be at a later date.
Published in Custer County Chief, Nov. 14, 2013