Dr. Edward R. Clayton, Professor Emeritus of Virginia Tech University, of Blacksburg, passed away suddenly February 10, 2019, at age 80. We have lost a loyal friend, a respected scholar, a truly fine gentleman, and a man deeply and steadfastly devoted to his family.
Ed’s life was long and good and, in many ways, extraordinary. As a youth, he traveled throughout the world with his family who were actively engaged in international oil enterprises. He worked in the jungles of South America on oil rigs when he was only sixteen. Along the way, he developed a brilliant mind for mathematics and a deep respect for the fragile politics of a complex world. While still in his teen years, he was enrolled in the Colorado School of Mines, attended Oklahoma University and then went on to graduate from the University of Florida and complete his Ph.D. at Clemson University. While attending Oklahoma University, Ed met and married the love of his life, Carolyn Owens. Together they went to Bogota, Colombia, where he worked with his family in the oil industry. Later they Lived in Germany while Ed served his country in the United States Army, continuing in the reserves for many years while teaching at Virginia Tech.
Above all else, Ed was a dedicated and loyal husband and father. He cherished his family—his parents, his wife of 60 years, his children Ginger Clayton (David Long), Hunter Clayton (Ella Clayton), Reed Clayton Buckland and his grandchildren Brock, Ava, Afton and Peyton. They were the joy of his life.
Ed’s love of the outdoors, especially fishing, will long be remembered. He served the bass fishing community in so many ways. Serving as Director of the Virginia Bass Federation Region 4. A lifetime member of B.A.S.S. A past president of the Vinton Bass Masters, leadership in Black Hollow Bass Masters, Big Lick Bassmasters and current Director of Virginia Bass Federation Nation Region 10. All the while mentoring youth in the groups by contributing his time and sharing his love the sport, serving as boat captain and organizing tournaments to promote youth fishing. He was a dear friend, mentor, and father figure to everyone at Anglers Choice Marine for decades. He was instrumental in developing their bass fishing tournament trail. A legacy that lives on. The tournament trail now gives hundreds of anglers from the region a venue to enjoy the sport they love and engage in competition and most importantly camaraderie.
Ed was a educator, an exemplary military officer, and a bass fisherman exemplar , always kind, seldom judgmental, and unfailingly supportive. His was a life well-lived, and he has left the world and it’s people a far better place. It is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Ed, for now. But he will be joining Carol and the family he loved so dearly in this life. It won’t be long before he will looking for the best lakes to fish and the best mountains to climb. We who are left here, his friends, his colleagues, his fishing and hunting pals, his students, his family, we will all miss him. We will miss his compassionate heart, his gentle hand, and his modest manner. We will miss his upbeat outlook, his thoughtful approach, and his gracious style. There will be always be a vacant place in our lives that he once filled. But Ed Clayton has made our lives richer and more meaningful. For that, we are thankful.
A special Thank You is owed to his dedicated friends that kept him in the fishing world as his health declined these last few years. You never left him behind. For that, we are eternally grateful to you.
There will be no services, however the family will receive friends Sunday, February 17, 2019, from 4:00-6:00 pm at McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.