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Ralph E. Clayton, 71, of Caruthersville died Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006, at Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau, after a sudden illness.
Born Oct. 17, 1934, in Caruthersville, he was the son of Dorothy Louise Meek and W.E. "Bill" Clayton.
Funeral Mass is set for 11 a.m. today at Sacred Heart Church in Caruthersville. The Rev. Randy Tochtrop will officiate. Burial will be in Little Prairie Cemetery.
H.S. Smith Funeral Home at Caruthersville is in charge of arrangements.
He attended Caruthersville Schools, graduating with the class of 1952. His high school activities included student council president, football, and basketball manager. He graduated from business school in Memphis, Tenn.
He worked 13 years for J.C. Penney Co., the last few as manager of the Caruthersville store. He was later general manager of The Democrat-Argus and its sister newspapers. His writings included local editorials and "Clayton's Comments." He spent 29 years in the newspaper business. He has been with the family business, Pemiscot Office Supply, for the past 11 years.
He was longtime treasurer of Bootheel Antique Car Klub, a member of Sacred Heart Parish and Knights of Columbus, former two-time president of Southeast Missouri Press Association, 1983 president of Missouri Press Association, president of the Missouri Press Foundation, 1989-1994, and former president of Caruthersville Chamber of Commerce.
He was a 2002 inductee to the Missouri Newspaper Hall of Fame, a 2005 recipient of the "Friend of SEMO Press" Award, and honored in a Missouri House of Representatives resolution..
He married Polly Hayden in November 1953 in Caruthersville.
He is survived by his wife, Polly Clayton of Caruthersville; a daughter, Teresa (Tom) Tidwell of Caruthersville; three sons, Tommy (Karen) Clayton of Caruthersville, Steve Clayton of Fenton, Mo., and Kendall Clayton of Cape Girardeau; a brother, Gerald Clayton of Sherwood, Ark.; four grandchildren, Clay (Shonda) Richardson of Hayti, Mo., and Whitney Tidwell and Kimberly and Brittany Clayton, all of Caruthersville; and a great-grandson, Dallas Richardson of Hayti.