Born Oct. 17, 1934, at Caruthersville, he was the son of Dorothy Louise Meeks and the late W.E. "Bill" Clayton. He graduated Caruthersville High School in 1952 and from business school in Memphis. He was a manager of a J.C. Penney Co. store in Caruthersville and later general manager of the Democrat-Argus newspaper and sister newspapers. He operated Pemiscot Office Supply in Caruthersville. He was a member of Sacred Heart Parish and Knights of Columbus, member of Bootheel Antique Car Klub, former president of the Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club in Caruthersville; two-time president of Southeast Missouri Press Association, a president of Missouri Press Association, a recipient of Mildred Walhausen Friend of SEMO Press award, and inducted into the Missouri Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2002. He served three terms on the Caruthersville City Council.
In November 1953 in Caruthersville he married his wife, Polly, who survives.
Other survivors include a daughter, Teresa Tidwell and husband, Tom, of Caruthersville; three sons, Tommy Clayton and wife, Karen, of Caruthersville, Steve Clayton of Fenton, Mo., and Kendall Clayton of Cape Girardeau; one brother, Gerald Clayton and wife, Sue, of Sherwood, Ark.; four grandchildren, Clay Richardson of Hayti, Mo., Whitney Tidwell, Kimberly and Brittany Clayton all of Caruthersville; one great-grandson, Dallas Richardson of Hayti.
Funeral Mass was 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 6, at the Sacred Heart Church in Caruthersville with Father Randolph Tochtrop officiating.
Burial was in Little Prairie Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Troma E. Jones, Charlie Jones, Gary Figgins, Leslie Knott Jr., Garlan McTernan, Frank Morgan, Don Abernethy and Johnny H. Harmon.
Honorary pallbearers were Raymond M. Redden, Alan Carlton, Glenn O. Petersen, Terry Swinger, Earl Bullington, Al Jackson, Jim Moore and H. Scott Seal.
The H.S. Smith Funeral Home at Caruthersville was in charge of services.