On the morning of February 20th, Josh received a call from his mother, Suzi, informing him that her husband, Clay, had a heart attack and was being life flighted to Bismarck, North Dakota, from Watford City.
Josh came home from work, we packed, and started the 12.5 hour drive to Bismarck. Around midnight we arrived in Minneapolis, MN, checked into a hotel and went to sleep. At 3:30 AM Josh got a call from his mother informing us that they had taken Clay off of life support and he had passed away.
We then continued our drive and made it to Bismarck around noon. We called the family and told them that we were going to lunch. The whole family (minus Grandma Judy who was not able to travel) met us at the restaurant where they filled us in on what had happened.
Clay had, most likely, started having small heart attacks a few days earlier, but had thought it was just heartburn or COPD. He went to work on Monday and had a massive heart attack so he was life flighted to Bismarck. They put him on dialysis (due to kidney failure) and life support. Suzi was able to be with him when they took him off of life support.
We spent the rest of the day with our family and then the next day a few of us drove to Watford City to help Suzi pack up all of her and Clay's things. Then we all drove back to Superior, Wisconsin.
We spent the next few days with the family while Clay's Celebration of Life was being planned.
On March 10th, Josh and I flew down to New Orleans, Louisiana. We rented a car and drove up to Tickfaw to meet up with the rest of the family at Clay and Suzi's house.
The next morning we all gathered at the Old Zion Hill Baptist Church to Celebrate Clays life. The service was beautiful and some very kind words were spoken. Clay was also in the Navy so there was an Honor Guard and a flag was presented to Suzi.
After some remarks by Clay's friend (mostly about Clay's heroic efforts during the recent flooding) and the church's Pastor, everyone gathered back at Clay and Suzi's place for a BBQ.
Clay LOVED to cook! Anytime there was a family gathering, an event, or just a Sunday night, Clay was always cooking. And he always cooked WAY too much delicious food. And that's exactly what we did!
The family also lowered a flag to half mast while a bagpiper played Amazing Grace.
Later that night some of the pipeliners went out and bought 20 lbs of crawfish.
The next day Josh and I flew home. We were sad to leave the family, but Josh had to get back to work.
Clay was such a loving and generous man who could put a smile on anyone's face. He loved to cook, was a proud veteran, cared deeply for his family, and was a man of faith. Clay, you will not be forgotten.