Clark County Clipper, March 1, 1928
DEATH OF CHESTER CLAY
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
Contributed by ~Shirley Brier~ October 28, 2005.
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