Clark County Clipper, March 1, 1928


Lester Leland Clay, second son and third child of John H. and Sarah Clay, was born in Ashland, September 7, 1895, and when old enough started in the grade schools of this city and completed the first year of high school.  Then he entered business college in Wichita and completed the full prescribed course.

When his commercial education was completed he returned to Ashland and entered into the lumber and building material business with his father continuing in that line for some years when it was sold.  Mr. Clay, Sr., built the double brick building on east Eighth Avenue and in 1911, Chester opened a stock of furniture and general merchandise at that location.

When the German Kaiser threw down the gauntlet of red war and started his raid upon the civilization of the world, Chester entered the service of his country, leaving his business in other hands.  Owing to his business ability and his training he was placed in the Quartermaster's department, handling supplies for the Army at Camp Funston.  He was under orders to sell within a few hours when the Armistice was signed.  In due time he was discharged from Headquarters Company, 164th Depot Brigade and returned to Ashland, resuming charge of his business until 1922, when he sold it to his brother-in-law, Jack Wright.

About this time, there was great activity in business circles in the western counties of Kansas, due to the projection of a railroad through that section and Chester went out to Ulysses in Grant County and opened a lumber yard with a general store in connection.  He prospered from the start and worked early and late to keep up with the rapid strides of his business.  Never a strong boy, his health began to fail and two years ago he had to undergo an operation from which he apparently rallied and had begun to feel much better both physically and in his spirits.  Two weeks ago he was talking to the writer of his future plans in which he envisioned the fruition of all his hopes.  Death and the end of his earthly plans were far from his thoughts as he talked with his friends.  But here he met the fiat - Man proposes, but God disposes - and those plans and hopes crumble before the decrees of nature and of nature's God.

He came in from Ulysses last Sunday, pausing a moment with his parents and going on to Protection where he submitted to a dental and tonsil operation from which he apparently rallied with promise of complete recovery.  Thursday night, after a day of cheerfulness, a sudden change occurred in a brief time, conscious to the last, the ties of this world slipped from him and he passed to explore that land from whence no word ever comes.  The change was so sudden that his own immediate family could not be summoned before life had ceased.

During the Rayburn revival meeting 11 years ago, he was converted and united with the Baptist church of Ashland, his subsequent life being lived in accordance with the will of the Master so far as frail humanity may follow.

May 20, 1922, he was united with Miss Laura M. Bard in marriage in Protection.  He is survived by his good wife, his father and mother, old residents of this county; his brother Lloyd of Ashland; Emery of Meade; and Felix of Grant county; and two sisters, Mrs. Jack Wright and Mrs. L. J. Witmer of Ashland, and a large circle of friends.

Thus closes the life of one of Ashland's young men, a student in our schools and the only one, it is believed of his age who has died peacefully in his bed.  Other of our young men have passed on as a result of violent means - as lightning and accidents of various kinds.  Chester lived a quiet, inoffensive life, devoted to his family and friends, and passed as he had lived - in peace.  He has ceased his labor's, his work is done and it is left for others to carry on as he would have them do.

The funeral was held from the Presbyterian church in Ashland and interment made in Highland cemetery, M. G. Stevenson local undertaker being in charge.  The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. Walter Dellinger, pastor of the M. E. church in Protection.  Rev. T. R. Mordy, pastor of the Ashland Presbyterian church, and Rev. R. L. Foster, pastor of the Ashland M. E. church assisted in the service.  The body was escorted by members of the American Legion and at the cemetery the burial ceremony was in charge of the Legion.

A large concourse of friends and relatives attended the funeral to pay their respects to the departed.  A large number from Ulysses, Kansas, where the deceased had made his home for the past five years, came to attend the services, among them were C. D. Galloway, Geo. Hill, Cy Wheeler, Fred Layton, Fred Gusler, Mr. and Mrs. M. D. Hickman, Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Sherwood, R. N. Henigh, Emmet Henigh, Delos Henigh, Frank Thomason, Leo Kennedy, Geo. Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. C. O. Wenholz, O. B. McColm, Claud Rider, Frank Rider, Atty. J. P. Evans, Mr. and Mrs. Claude Gorman.  A. large number of friends from Protection were in attendance.

Contributed by ~Shirley Brier~ October 28, 2005.


Back to Obituaries

Back to Main Page