Clay was born in Sherman April 8, 1936 to Glen W. and Birtie Smithson Estes. Clay passed away June 9, 2020 from complications of diabetes and Parkinson’s.
During his senior high school year, Clay joined the Naval Reserve. After the Korean War was over, he enrolled at Arlington State College attending school in the day and working nights on flight line at Ling-Temco-Vought in Grand Prairie. While working on an F-84 Thunderjet, he was pulled up into the nose cone of the plane in a freak accident. The worker in the cockpit stopped the engine as he hit, but Clay remembered the rings sliding off his fingers. His nervous system and hearing were affected and he received medical discharge in 1961 from Naval Reserve having served seven years, 10 months and eight days.
Clay graduated from Sherman High School and Arlington State College in Electrical Engineering Technology, Henderson County Junior College Associate of Applied Science Real Estate and East Texas State University Bachelor of Science. He worked at Federal Aviation for five years and was Director of Maintenance and Services, Shrine’s Burns Institute, Galveston, before following an interest in real estate. With time and experience, he earned Salesman, Broker and Senior Appraiser licenses. In 1972, Clay joined First National Bank in Corsicana as Chief Appraiser. In 1980, Clay started his own appraisal business. For over 35 years he did appraisals for varied private and corporate clients. Clay taught Continuing Education Real Estate classes at TVCC and weekend classes for American Business.
Clay gave time and experience in service to the communities and organizations where he lived. He helped establish Disciples Clinic and served as Chairman of the Board at Disciples Clinic, First Christian Church, Henderson County Appraisal District and Malakoff ISD. He served as Director on Malakoff Chamber of Commerce, Henderson County Board of Realtors, Old Reliable Mortgage Co. He was a member of the board of Family Peace Project. He was a member of First Christian Church in Athens, Masonic Lodge #165, Scottish Rite, Shrine El Mina Temple. As a Shriner, he was in the Clown Division and true to his fun loving nature, searched the crowd for any lady who would fit the generous size three cup bra he waved about.
Clay was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Waford, Ned and Don.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years Peggy, sons Stephen Clay and wife Cathy and Jeffrey Scott and wife Kim, grandson Adam and wife Lindsey, granddaughters Kearn Estes Parker and husband Craig and Madison Estes, great-grandchildren Trenton, Jonah, Noah, Eli, Jayden, Ella Estes, Lana Taylor, Casen and Camden Parker, brother Bob, numerous cousins, nephews, nieces and sisters-in-law.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 28, 2020 at First Christian Church in Athens. Any memorial may be made to Disciples Clinic or Family Peace Project.