Henry Allen ClaySeptember 10, 1930 ~ March 1, 2017 (age 86)
Henry Allen Clay, 86, passed away peacefully on March 1st, 2017 at The Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania after a short battle with cancer. He is survived by his two sons and their families: Stephen Henry Clay of Camp Hill, PA, his wife Anne Vidinghoff Clay, their children Adam Henry Clay and Owen Charles Clay, and his son Andrew Robert Clay of Santa Monica, CA, his wife Stacy Rene Clay, and their children Mason Andrew Clay, Davin Oliver Berg and Fiona Autumn Berg.
Henry was born September 10th, 1930 in Donora, Pennsylvania to Henry Clevenger Clay and Mary Shingledecker Clay. Affectionately known as “Bunky” he was a true product of the depression. We know this because it was a common thread in all of the wonderful family stories Henry was so fond of telling. Henry was one of the most popular kids in the neighborhood growing up because his Grandmother Ada bought him a football for his birthday and since no one else could afford one he became everyone’s best friend. Anyone who knew Henry knows better. It was his infectious laugh, sharp wit, and selfless personality that made him irresistible and the kind of person everyone wanted to be around.
Henry went on to become the first in his family to go to college. While attending the University of Pennsylvania he met the love of his life Christine Brooks. Their love affair is straight out of the movies. Well almost - on their first date Henry took Chris to a University of Pennsylvania basketball game and fell asleep. To hear them tell it Henry had his work cut out for him to get that second date. In 1952 Henry and Chris were married, a marriage that lasted 63 years until her passing in March of 2015. Henry served as a Lieutenant in the United States Army Quartermaster Corps in Korea, and in 1968 was honorably discharged from the Army Reserve as a Major. When Henry returned from Korea he earned his Law Degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1957 Chris and Henry started a family in Lynn, Massachusetts when their first son Steve was born. Two years later in 1959 their daughter Carol was born in Philadelphia. In 1966 their son Andy was born. The primary thread throughout Henry’s life was his constant thought and concern for others. It showed up in every geographical move he made with his family, every job he took, every organization he volunteered to serve in, every friend he made, literally everything he did. To list each of his achievements would be nearly impossible. He left everything better than he found it.
Henry served as President of the Marple Newtown, PA school board until his oldest two children graduated from high school. He was held in highest regard at all of his Philadelphia-area employers, including the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company, the Penn Mutual, and the Lower Merion school district. His sons Andy and Steve discovered numerous awards and citations from all of his employers while starting to put his affairs in order. Henry was a very modest man - he never talked about these things. He would often do a good turn without being found out.
In 1978 Henry, Chris, Carol and Andy moved to Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. Henry took a job as Partner In Charge of Administration at Dykema, Gossett, a large Detroit-based law firm. He took Andy to Michigan three months before the house was ready so Andy wouldn’t have to start school mid-year. Henry helped take Dykema into the computer age and always did what was right even if it wasn’t always popular.
Henry and Chris were very active in the Grosse Pointe Newcomers Club and were very active Members in Old Mariners Church in downtown Detroit. One of Henry’s proudest achievements was protecting Old Mariners right to continue to use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as an Anglican community of faith.
Henry retired in 1992, and he and Chris initially retired to Hendersonville, North Carolina before making their final stop in 1999 at 28 Jackson Drive at The Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, PA. Henry founded and published a daily newsletter (“What’s Cooking”, and later “UFO”) for Masonic Village residents until his sudden illness on January 3, 2017. He volunteered and served as the first President of the Masonic Village Residents Association, Treasurer for the Korean War Veteran’s Association, Treasurer for the Elizabethtown Library, and organized and coordinated a major expansion fundraiser for Northwest EMS. He was instrumental in so many positive things in his community. His was a constant voice of advocacy for both residents and administration at the Masonic Village.
If you want to honor Henry’s memory, let your family know how much you love them. Do a good turn for someone without being found out. Help someone in need. That’s what Henry did his entire life.
A Masonic Service will be held on Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10 AM in the Sell Chapel at Masonic Village, One Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022 with a Memorial Service following. Military honors will take place at the conclusion of the Memorial Service. Relatives and Friends are respectfully invited to visit with the family from 9 AM until the time of the service. Private Interment will be in the Columbarium of Mariners Church of Detroit, 170 E. Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226. Arrangements have been entrusted with the Miller-Finkenbinder Funeral Home & Crematory, 130 North Market Street, Elizabethtown, PA 17022, 717-367-1543.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Henry’s Memory to All Saints Anglican Church or to Mariners Church.
Condolences and memories may be shared at www.FinkenbinderFamily.com