Clayton Charles Wright, (80), of Clay Center, Kansas passed away at the Good Shepherd Hospice House in Manhattan on May 30, 2023.
Clayton was born to Elsworth J. And Eloise Byarlay Wright on August 12, 1942, the second of eleven children. Clayton lived with his family on a farm near Morganville, Kansas until he was four years old when they moved to 1425 Grant Street, in Clay Center where he spent the remainder of his childhood years. Upon graduation from Clay Center High School in 1960, Clayton joined the Navy, and spent the next three years in California and at sea. While in the Navy Clayton enjoyed the time that he spent as part of the Navy Drill Team and he shared fond memories of the places they traveled and the parades that they performed in. Clayton was also proud of the fact that he was able to purchase 3 sets of China dishes while he was in Japan and got them back across the Pacific Ocean during a typhoon with only one broken dish.
He returned to Clay Center in 1963 and went to work for Northern Natural Gas. While working at Northern, Clayton recalls an extremely hot day when he was lying underneath a generator making repairs and saw a highway patrolman drive by in an air-conditioned vehicle. He decided at that moment there were better ways to make a living and in 1965 he applied and was accepted by the Kansas Highway Patrol where he drove an air-conditioned vehicle for the next 7 years. During that time he was stationed in McPherson, Salina and Junction City. Anyone who new Clayton, has no doubt heard stories about his time with KHP. He loved sharing those stories. In 1971 he became Clay County Undersheriff and held that position until 1974.
In 1974 Clayton purchased Valleywide Sales. When Clayton purchased the business, it was located in a small trailer at 612 W. Court. Clayton thought he could make a go of it if he could sell at least one auger a month. Clayton did more than just make a go of it and through his hard work and sacrifice he grew the business into a successful company earning top dealer awards from Hutchinson Manufacturing every year and expanding into the current location. In 2007 Clayton retired from Valleywide and passed the family business on to his son Wes. After retirement, Clayton still enjoyed helping out by mowing, making deliveries and doing whatever other jobs needed done.
Clayton was married to Jennice Beikmann Wright from 1965-1977. Three children were born to that marriage, Shawna, Pamela and Wesley.
Clayton married Vicki Blake Wright on December 3, 1983 and immediately accepted her two children, Robin and Dustin Mullin, as his own.
Clayton’s name changed to “Papa” in 1996 with the birth of his first of 11 grandchildren. Papa loved spending time with all of his grandchildren. He loved taking them out to dinner, playing golf, hunting, fishing and sitting around the kitchen table telling stories. He always loved having them stop by the house whether it was for a quick raid of the refrigerator or a couple hours of visiting.
Throughout their marriage Clayton and Vicki always enjoyed traveling whether it be business trips or special vacations. After Clayton’s retirement, they purchased a motor home and spent the next 10 years traveling. These trips included everything from weekend rodeos and trips to Branson with the grandkids, to winters spent in Arizona. Clayton enjoyed all of these times and was so thankful to get to enjoy his retirement years. He especially enjoyed the times they were able to spend with Vicki’s sister Cheryl and her husband Jim on numerous adventures.
Wife: Vicki Wright of Clay Center, Kansas
Daughter: Pam and husband Bryan Maloney of Humboldt, Kansas
Son: Wes and wife Kristin Wright of Clay Center, Kansas
Step-daughter: Robin and husband Chris Wilkinson of South Lake, Texas
Step-son: Dustin and wife Piper Mullin of Clay Center, Kansas
Sister: Sara Klein of Sterling, Kansas
Sister: Maggie Bowman of Topeka, Kansas
Brother: Paul and wife Gwen Wright of Clay Center, Kansas
Sister: Susan and husband Richard Bontrager of Holton, Kansas
Brother: Dean Wright of Clay Center, Kansas
Sister: Liana and husband Dayton Hess of Clay Center, Kansas
Funeral Services: 10:00 AM Friday, June 9, 2023, at the First Presbyterian Church in Clay Center, Kansas
Minister: Rev. Scott Lingle
Burial: Rose Meron Cemetery, rural Oak Hill, Kansas
Visitation: 4-6 PM Thursday, June 8, 2023, at Neill-Schwensen-Rook Funeral Home in Clay Center, Kansas
Memorials: Clay County Educational Endowment Assn. c/o the funeral home