Louis Clayton April 22, 1916 – February 28, 2011

  Funeral services for Louis Clayton, age 94 of Blockton, who died Monday, February 28, 2011 at the Bedford Nursing and Rehab Center were held Thursday, March 3, 2011 at the Blockton Christian Church.Interment was held in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Blockton. Memorials may be directed to Hospice of Central Iowa, the Blockton Ambulance or the Blockton Christian Church.  Memories may be shared at www.ritchiefuneralhome.com 

Louis Clayton was born on April 22, 1916, on a farm in Antelope county, Nebraska, the son of Emma (Larsen) Clayton and Aldred B. Clayton. His family moved throughout parts of Nebraska where he began his education in a country school.  One of his fondest memories was retelling the story of racing his horse home from school along the country roads against the other boys. This worked fine until he had to start taking his little sister, Frances, with him to school and he had to use the buggy.  He still raced, but after one particularly hair-raising ride, his scared little sister tattled on him and that was the end of the racing.  Louis graduated from Tech high school in Omaha in 1935.

Louis met his first love, Thelma Faye Grimm, in Omaha, Nebraska and they eloped on July 25, 1937.  They married in Rock Port, Missouri and kept the marriage a secret for a week. From 1940 until 1942 Louis worked at Fort Crook, Nebraska. He then went to Davenport, Iowa and completed six months training on armored vehicle maintenance. In the fall of 1942, they moved to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he worked as a civilian mechanic until 1945.  While there, Louis met and often talked to General George Patton and was the final inspector for the armored tanks, deciding if they were ready to ship overseas for the war.  Louis and Faye bought the farm at Blockton in 1941, but did not move there until 1946 when they began working side by side raising cattle and creating a family farm. To this loving union Ronald Dean and Susan Jo were born. Louis worked the farm and began employment as a mechanic/bus driver for Bedford Community Schools.  During this time Louie (as the kids fondly called him) drove the bus to many sporting events, activities and delivered many students safely to school during his 24-year span as a bus driver.  In 1974, Susan and her husband Paul, with their children, Deb and Jim, moved to the family farm at Blockton where Paul and Louis worked together.  Louis greatly enjoyed living so close to his grandchildren and watching them grow up.  At the age of 67, Louis was a widower as the result of Faye’s death from cancer. Louis continued to repair and drive buses for Bedford until his retirement.  At this time Louis hit his second adolescence, buying a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle and touring the California coast and even venturing into Canada, giving Susan many sleepless nights worrying about her 70-year-old father riding around on a motorcycle!!

In 1987, Louis eloped once again when he took his second love, Leah Kemery, to Las Vegas, Nevada where they were united in marriage on March 17. Louis gained a son and daughter-in-law and added two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren to his family. Louis and Leah watched many ball games together, both on TV and at the field, went on several trips and still had time for a pizza and MacGyver night with grandson Jim, and Grandpa didn’t even like pizza!  Louis got his nickname Big Pa from great-grandson Cole.  Cole used Big Pa one day when talking about his great-grandpa and the name stuck, being passed on to the other great-grandchildren, Dakota, Callyn and Hailee, which they have continued to lovingly call him to this day.  

Louis was a member of the Blockton Christian Church and faithfully attended until his health wouldn’t allow. He served as church treasurer for several years and was a member of the Blockton Masonic Lodge. Louis greatly enjoyed reading Louis L’amour western novels, going through one to two books a week which he continued to do right up until his death.  Louis was very fortunate to live all but the last month independently in his home on the Blockton farm with support from his family, Katie from Taylor County Public Health and special caregiver, Shirley.

He was loved and will be deeply missed by many, including his daughter Susan Beemer and husband Paul of Maryville, Missouri; stepson Jerry Kemery and wife Karen of Blockton, Iowa; grandchildren Deb Bonde and husband James of Blockton, Iowa; James (Jim) Beemer and wife Johnna of Maryville, Missouri; step-grandchildren Kathy Coulter and husband Scott of Maryville, Missouri; Marilyn Miller of Hopkins, Missouri; great-grandchildren Cole and Callyn Bonde, Dakota and Hailee Beemer, Samantha Eggers, Cody and Kaylee Coulter, Nick Rucker and Taylor Miller; sister-in-law Hazel Cushman of McHenry, Illinois and several nieces and nephews.

Preceding Louis in death are his parents; his first wife, Faye in 1983; his second wife, Leah in 2006; an infant son, Ronald, and sister and brother-in-law Frances and Don Gorton.  

Louis will be missed by his entire family and many friends. They will hold the memories of his quiet dignity, loving ways and feisty spirit as a wonderful gift. He will live in their hearts forever. 

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