WILMINGTON — John Edward Clayton Jr., 99, died Wednesday, June 10, 2020, at Liberty Commons Nursing Center.
John was born April 22, 1921, in Wilmington, son of the late John Edward and Jessie J. Clayton. He was also preceded in death by his beloved wife of almost 72 years, Ruth Middleton Clayton, in 2019; brother, Ben R. Clayton; and grandson, Scott Evans.
John graduated from New Hanover High School and continued his education at an art school in Detroit, Michigan. Upon returning to Wilmington, he went to work for Andrews Mortuary and later went to work for Wilmington Savings and Trust Company.
World War II broke out, and he joined the U.S. Navy (because, according to him and his wonderful sense of humor, he never looked good in green) and was stationed at Norfolk for 18 months and then assigned to the LST 536 for two years. He was in the Normandy Invasion, Pacific Theatre, stationed in Guam waiting for the invasion of Japan when the war ended. He was truly dedicated and proud to have served his country.
After the war ended, he returned home and resumed his job with Wilmington Savings and Trust Company until they merged with Wachovia Bank. In 1963, he joined Carolina Savings and Loan Association, which he proudly served for 22 years ending his career as manager and assistant vice president at the Hanover Center Branch. He retired in 1985.
He was a member of the First Baptist Church. He was a deacon, member of the Smith West Sunday School Class, assisted his good friend Onree Fisher with the church services at Catherine Kennedy Home for over 20 years, and after Catherine Kennedy closed, they continued their services at Lake Shore Commons. He was a member of the American Legion, charter member of the Hobby Greenhouse Club, member of Cape Fear Bird Club and NLI Beach Club at Wrightsville Beach.
He is survived by one son, John Edward Clayton III, and his wife, Wilma, of Wilmington; three daughters, Nell Clayton Murphy, and her husband, Ray, of Scotts Hill, Laura Clayton Robbins, and her husband, Joe, of Shirley, Arkansas, and Jeanne Clayton Evans, and her husband, Marty, of Wilmington; six grandchildren, Keith Dove, Casey Timmons, Jesse Shields, Susan Carroll, Ryan Murphy and and Lauren Grady; seven great-grandchildren, Masey, Makayla, Michael, Kinley, Zachary, Lailynn and Savannah; niece, Beth Menefee of Georgia; and nephew, James Middleton of Florida.
A private graveside service for the family will be held at Oakdale Cemetery with full military honors.
Memorials may be sent to the First Baptist Church, 411 Market St., Wilmington, NC 28401.
Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.