Earl Clay, of Hollister, was promoted to his heavenly home Wednesday, May 9, 2018, at St. Mary Hospital in Rhinelander. He was 75 years old. He was born on August 25, 1942, at home in Hollister, a son of Leonard and Edith (Meeks) Clay. He married Debra R. Thompson on June 28, 1986, in Alabama. She survives. Prior to his marriage to Debra, Earl had been married two times and both marriages ended in divorce.
He was raised in Hollister and was a member of the last graduating class of the Hollister Grade School. As a young man he worked for Rayfield and Hannah Kielcheski, Horace O’Brian, and Johns Manville in Illinois.
Earl enlisted in the United States Army on January 12, 1961 and was stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany. He was discharged on December 10, 1963.
Following military service, he began a long career working for National Automatic Sprinkler Industry as a sprinkler fitter for 34 years, retiring in 1997.
He was a proud veteran and was a member and past commander of the Anderson-Sather American Legion Post #524, White Lake. While commander he was instrumental, along with many legionaries and volunteers, in placing six large wood crosses in area cemeteries. He was a member of the Langlade County Voiture 1204, 40 et 8, and the Paul Marmes Disabled American Veterans Chapter 23, Antigo.
Earl was also active with the Langlade County Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the White Lake ATV Club and Lily Snowbirds Club.
He greatly valued time spent in the woods in Hollister.
Survivors including his wife are four daughters, Trina (Rich) Trepanier, Little Suamico, Tracy Clay, Kaukauna, Tonya Hoffman, Antigo, Odessa Clay, White Lake; two sons, Travis (Kim) Clay, Menasha, Troy (Prisca) Clay, Kaukauna; a step-son, Jeff (Jennifer) Thompson, Merrill; 24 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; a sister, Alma (Herman) Albrecht, Birnamwood; a brother-in-law Larry Kainz, Weston;
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by eight sisters, Marie Marmes, Vivian Straley, Blanche Miller, Gladys Vaughn, Jean Kainz, Grace Kainz, Ella Iris, Violet Sprinkler; two brothers Richard and Franklin Clay.
The funeral services will be held on Friday, May 18, 2018, at 12 p.m. at Four Corners Assembly of God, White Lake with Rev. Marvin Kindle officiating. Burial will take place in Lily Cemetery where the White Lake Veterans will conduct military honors.
Visitation will be from 10:30 a.m. Friday until the time of services at the church.
Debra expresses appreciation for all those who journeyed with Earl and her in the past eight months. They make a difficult time more bearable. She offers special recognition to Bonnie Keso, Pam Buettner, Karen Sellers and Pastor Kindle.