Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 26, 2009
James Albert Clayton, age 89, of Austin, formerly of Brownsdale, died peacefully on July 21, 2009, at Austin Medical Center surrounded by his entire family.
Jim, as he was called, was born in Norman County, Minn. to Albert and Maude (Bircher) Clayton on June 21, 1920. After grade school he worked locally as a farmhand until 1936 when he moved to rural Brownsdale to work on his uncle Dick Clayton’s farm. He worked there and for other farmers until 1940 when he joined the National Guard at Moorhead, Minn. He was a corporal in the Army in the Pacific Theater of World War II for nearly five years. Upon discharge he returned to Brownsdale and started his 35-year employment at Hormel Foods. James had been retired from Hormel for nearly 30 years.
In 1946, Jim joined Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and on March 30, 1946 he married Jeanette Rettig, who lives to mourn his death more than 63 years later.
During Jim’s 30 years of retirement he spent 22 winters in Ranchero Village in Weslaco, Texas. There he enjoyed many new friends, playing bridge and other card games, painting, fishing in the ocean, trips across the bridge to Mexico and a climate where he could wear shorts year ‘round. During Minnesota summers Jim enjoyed attending auctions where he often bought decrepit old furniture and turned them into beautiful finished antiques. He collected old silverware and spent hours identifying their patterns and age. Jim enjoyed cooking, fishing, camping, traveling and often combined these trips with square dancing.
Jim enjoyed years of morning coffee with his friends at Greenway in Brownsdale and at Lord and Irene’s in Weslaco. He was a lifetime member of the Austin VFW, and a volunteer fireman in Brownsdale for many years. He enjoyed watching the Minnesota Twins and the Vikings.
Jim had three open heart surgeries, the first in 1971 where his prayer for “just three more years” was answered. He and his family were blessed with nearly 38 more years. He was the best husband, father, grandfather and friend anyone could ask for. Blessed be his memory.
Jim leaves three daughters: Mary Siet (Steven), Anne Fifer, Ruth Vale (Jim), and two sons: James R. (Raycy) and Stephen. He also leaves five grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, two sisters, one sister-in-law (Lillian Rettig) and his “sunshine” Yorkie, Max.
He is preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, his best friend and son-in-law, Dr. William Fifer, and his beloved grandson, Michael Moses Peterson.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 1, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Brownsdale, with Pastor Jeffrey Sage officiating. Visitation one hour prior to service, reception following.