Cover photo for William Earl Clay's Obituary
William Earl Clay Profile Photo
1934 William 2017

William Earl Clay

April 11, 1934 — April 30, 2017

Mr. William Earl Clay, son of the late James Cousins Clay and Anna Caudill Reynolds Clay and the grandson of the late Edwin Lawson Clay and Sue Hill Clay (of Tyler Texas) and Samuel M. Caudill and Lucinda Blair Caudill, was born on April 11, 1934 in Morehead, Kentucky and died on Sunday, April 30, 2017 in Morehead, Kentucky.

William attended the Robert J. Breckinridge School and graduated in 1952.  He attended Morehead State University for a semester and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1958 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He received a Masters Degree in Business Administration from UK in 1973.

He began his career with the Veterans Administration in 1958, moved to Phillips Petroleum in 1960 and returned to Lexington with IBM in 1962.  He retired from IBM in 1990 and returned to Morehead in 1994.

William was a Fellow of MSU and UK, a Frank Dickey level supporter of UK, a life member of the UK Alumni Association, a member of Lambda Chi Alpha social fraternity and he set up an Endowment for Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity at UK.

He was the 1964 Outstanding Young Democrat of Fayette County.  He was President of the Committee of 101 UK basketball boosters for two years, a signatory of the Breck Society Endowment at MSU and founding donor thereof.  He was an endowment donor to St. Claire Medical Center and funded over 10 years of UK scholarships for East Asian students.

William had six half-brothers and one half-sister who preceded him in death.  They were Dr. John Lawson Clay, Richard Marston “Dick” Clay, Judge James Edwin Clay, Dr. Samuel E. Reynolds, Paul J. Reynolds, James R. Reynolds and Mary Margaret “Peggie” Reynolds.  He considered himself fortunate to have been raised with Lena Johnson Wright, as a vital part of his life.

William had many nieces and nephews, along with great nieces and nephews, who surrounded him with love, laughter and support during his retirement and to the end.  He considered himself blessed to have such a wonderful family and so many friends.

As a final act of philanthropy, Mr. Clay bequeathed his body to the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Memorial services will be conducted at a later date at the Caudill Cemetery.

Contributions are suggested to the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Morehead, U.K. College of Medicine or Breck Society.

The Michael R. Gray Funeral Home in Morehead is caring for arrangements.

To send flowers to the family in memory of William Earl Clay, please visit our flower store.


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