John H. Clay
March 24, 1929 - June 29, 2016
John H. Clay was born March 24, 1929 to John H. and Mary F. Clay in Trinidad, Colorado. During his high school years in Rocky Ford, Colorado, he was a student leader, athlete and Eagle Scout. In 1951, he and L. Jane Burt were married at the St. Andrews Episcopal Church in La Junta, Colorado. He served in a combat zone in the Korean War as a United States Air Force weather technician. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver and a master of business administration degree from Michigan State University.
Clay’s work career was in the National Park Service as a ranger, personnel officer, concessions analyst, management evaluator and general superintendent. He worked in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, regional and Washington offices. From 1973 until his retirement in 1987, he was in charge of twelve national monuments in Arizona, comprising 450,000 acres of land, hundreds of miles of roads and trails, campgrounds, visitor centers, museums and worker housing. Under his leadership, boundaries were surveyed, roads paved, vegetation restored, cattle grazing and mining eliminated, historic structures rehabilitated, master plans made, and cooperative agreements with Mexico developed. He represented the U.S. at an international parks seminar and was on the governor of Arizona’s environmental work group. He met with mayors, senators, park programs at public meetings.
In retirement years, he worked as a volunteer docent at the Living Desert State Park. He did research and concept design for the Bombardier Exhibit at the Carlsbad airport, served on the board of the Friends of the Library, raised funds for Alzheimer’s research, and made a long-range plan for a nature preserve in northern New Mexico.
John is survived by a daughter, Lisa Dilg and her husband, Stephen of Santa Fe, New Mexico; a son, John Kevin Clay and wife, Suzanne of Milford, Connecticut; grandson, Kevin Dilg and wife, Emily Goldberg of Portland, Oregon; granddaughter, Eleanor Jane Clay of Milford Connecticut and great-granddaughter, Ellis Jane Dilg. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane B. Clay.
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