A member of the first graduating class of James A. Shanks High School in Quincy, Clay attended St. Johns River Community College and then worked as both an insect researcher and builder on St. George Island before returning to Quincy and working alongside his father at Gadsden Abstract Company, searching land titles and performing real estate closings. He then worked for Bell Appraisal Service in Tallahassee as a fee appraiser. In the late 1980s Clay once again returned to Gadsden Abstract where he worked for decades, helping his beloved community navigate land title transfers and closings. His passion for title work and his community led him to service in other organizations including the Quincy Historical Preservation Commission, the Florida Land Title Association where he served as state president, and the Property Appraisers’ Association of Florida who honored him with the prestigious Bob Walden Award for excellence in the profession in 2013. In 2004, Clay was elected to the office of Gadsden County Property Appraiser, a position he held for twelve years and relished every day. At the time of his passing, Clay was the Town Manager for Greensboro, Florida.
Clay loved volleyball and barbeque, and over the course of his life, he won multiple first place titles in both volleyball tournaments and barbeque competitions. He enjoyed being outside and especially enjoyed kayaking and working on projects like his raised-bed vegetable garden. Clay attended a men’s choir practice every Wednesday night where he enjoyed fellowship with other lifelong residents of Quincy and the surrounding area. A devoted member of the community, Clay loved his Gadsden County roots, the history of his home county, and being able to help others who lived here.
Predeceased by his parents, Clay is survived by his wife of forty years Mari, whom he always called the love of his life; daughter Mandy Handley (Jackson Ray) and son Patrick; two granddaughters, Juliet and Anna; sister Betsy (Steve) Wilkerson; mothers-in-law Carol Penrose and Trisha Haslam; sister-in-law Stacey (Andy) McKnight; niece Rachel and nephews J.C., Bryce, and Logan; and a wealth of extended family and friends.
Visitation will be held at the Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church in Quincy on Wednesday, July 17 at 1 p.m. Services will be at 2 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church. Immediately after the service, the procession will take Clay for a final trip around the Quincy Courthouse Square and then conclude with interment at Sycamore Cemetery.
Charles McClellan Funeral Home, 15 S. Jackson Street, Quincy, FL, 850-627-7677, is in charge of arrangements.
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