Clay's Story

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Clay Johnson Davis, 85, passed away Friday, November 18, 2016. There will be a service on Sunday, November 27, 2016 from 2-5pm at Peacock River Ranch near Gatesville.
Clay Johnson Davis was born in Gatesville, Texas to John Alford Davis & Annie Pearl (Quicksall) Davis on November 25, 1930. He grew up and went to school and church in the Hay Valley community right outside Gatesville. He then enrolled at Gatesville High School. His family had a farm and a ranch with many crops. Clay, known as Clayboy to his family. He was an outstanding athlete in all sports, especially football where he won a full scholarship to Navarro Junior College. At the end of those two years with 'the barracks bunch' he won a full scholarship to Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. He married Joan Brown at Live Oak Baptist Church, which was built on land donated by her family. After their honeymoon they returned home, they immediately began helping bring in the cotton crop. He received a draft notice to report for duty with the United States Army. Clay was quickly promoted to Squad Leader where he won several Sharpshooter awards. Just as his squad was preparing for their deployment overseas, they went through their final & most rigorous physical where it was revealed that he was legally blind in his left eye. Instead of being Honorably Discharged though, the Army asked if he would stay on and use the education he had already received to take over & modernize the Base Recreational Facility.
After his time was finished, he attend Baylor University. There, he earned his BS in Education, his MS in Education, his Principal's Certification, & 72 hours toward his PhD in Education. His first job was as assistant principal at South Jr. High School & was moved up to University High School for several years. finished his 38 year career as the elementary school principal at Bruceville-Eddy ISD, while Joan worked as a special education teacher at the women's prison in Gatesville. After he retired, he began sculpting in hardwood, His poetry developed at the same time, working with his youngest daughter, Nancy, to hone in on his voice. This led to public speaking, especially to encourage other cancer survivors. Clay spent countless hours volunteering with The American Red Cross, The American Cancer Society's Relay For Life of Johnson County, & donated time to Camp Fire Tesuya with his granddaughters. He earned the moniker, Man From the Old River Road while trying to prevent the destruction of 400 year old trees, American Indian burial mounds, & the historic Mother Neff State Park. He is responsible for getting the old river road & Mother Neff State Park on the Texas Registry of Historic Places, with the help of Governor Ann Richards, & The National Registry of Historic Places. Friends of Mother Neff State Park was formed by a small group of like minded local historians included several Baylor University Museum staff & directors.
The summer of 2009, Joan was called home to be with the Lord after a long battle with her third bout of cancer, & Clay, after surviving his second cancer, enjoyed visits from family & friends, hunting, fishing, & playing dominos in the shop. He is preceded in death by his wife, his parents, his brother, and Curtis Alford Davis & his wife Thelma of Gatesville.
He became quite famous during his lifetime for coining phrases, like: Garden Seed, That Ol' Dog Won't Hunt, It's Gonna Be Too Wet To Plow, & Powder River.
He is survived by 3 children, all Baylor University graduates, 3 grandchildren, Tyler Miller & her husband Rod of McGregor, Tana, who just graduated with her Master's Degree from North Texas State University, & GC, a sophomore at McClennan Community College, & 4 great grandchildren, 1 sister, Mary Ann Graham & husband, Vernon, of Denton, Texas & multiple cousins, nephews, & nieces.
The Guest Book is available at www.gracegardensfh.com
Published on November 23, 2016
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