Date of Death: August 20, 2019

Service Details

A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers/Centreville on October 12, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. Friends are invited to join the family at the Carnegie Center for a reception and showing of the artist’s work immediately following the service.

Obituary Notice

Kenneth Edward Clay (b. August 15, 1938) passed away August 20, 2019. Ken was a graduate of Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan, where he followed a specialized track of courses in the visual arts. Ken studied at Western Michigan University and Alma College and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration with a focus on accounting. An avid college athlete, he was a member of the Alma Scots baseball team that won the MIAA championship in 1958. As a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, he was the architect of the fraternity’s ice sculpture – a giant Scottie dog – that won first place at the 1958 Alma Snow Carnival. That winning sculpture triggered a series of events that led to a date with Alma junior Joyce Grover.

After the couple settled in the bride’s hometown of Three Rivers, Ken began work at First National Bank. He later became a founding employee of People’s Community Bank, before joining the accounting department of Armstrong. Known for his caricature drawings of colleagues, he enjoyed his Armstrong friends every day of the 33 years he spent with the company. A dedicated golfer, Ken treasured the many rounds he played with friends at the Sauganash course; scoring 7 “hole in one’s” over the years.

Ken continued his devotion to the visual arts his entire life; painting, carving, or drawing nearly every day. He was a longtime student and supporter of the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts and served on the board of the Carnegie Center in Three Rivers.

He is survived by his loving wife Joyce, twin sons Ross and Rodd, daughter Kathryn, son-in-law Daniel Reifsnyder, sisters Margaret Strobel and Nanci Cardinal, mother-in-law Annie Grover, brother-in-law Gus Armstrong, and seven nieces and nephews. Ken was preceded in death by his mother Bessie (Irons) Clay and father Frank C. Clay, and by his grandsons James Scott Reifsnyder and Charles Clay Reifsnyder.

Additional Information

In lieu of flowers, friends are invited to make a contribution in Ken’s memory to the Carnegie Center for the Arts or First Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers/Centreville.

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  1. I am deeply saddened to hear of Ken’s passing and sorry for your loss to all families.
    Ken was a great man who worked with my mother and a church friend of the family.
    I remember playing with your children at Mr and Mrs Grover’s as next door neighbors in the sandbox in their back yard.
    Thoughts and prayers for you and your families ?

    Gail Boughton Brady

  2. Joyce and Family, My deepest sympathy to you in the passing of Ken. I got to know him when we worked in the Corporate building at Armstrong. He was always nice and pleasant and I enjoyed visiting with him. I always liked looking at his paintings and the wood carvings he had in his office. He was so talented and one could tell how much he enjoyed doing his art projects. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  3. Joyce and family: I knew Ken and saw some of his beautiful paintings in Three Rivers. Ken will be greatly missed by everyone. May God surround you with His Peace, love and comfort. Judy Gilchrist Mohney of Stayton, Oregon.

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