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Memorial Minute: Larry Clayton

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Robert Lawrence Clayton

March 7, 1926 - December 23, 2016

Larry was the son of a Methodist Minister and a Methodist Minister Himself. He was a seeker after the truth and a follower of his Lord Jesus.

When a youth as a Merchant Seaman he traveled the world during World War II. Uncle Sam required his services again as a Radio Operator in the Navy during the Korean Conflict.

In 1949 he was able to complete his degree in natural science at Duke University. Seeing the emptiness of life without a spiritual commitment, he answered the call to ministry and enrolled in seminary in 1955. He found and married his partner in God's work, Eleanor Babylon, in 1957.

He served churches as a Methodist Minister for eight years. The Lord opened to him a ministry to alcoholics which he pursued as a probation officer for alcoholics for eleven years in NC. He then followed a leading to participate in the Church of the Savior in Washington, DC, a model church which urged it members to follow an inward and outward journey.

He became fascinated by the poet William Blake whose spiritual teachings were to influence his thinking and living through the rest of his life. In 1985 his journey led him to Langley Hill Friends Meeting which became his church home until he retired. In later years he participated in the Brevard Friends Meeting, helped to originate the Greenville Friends Meeting, hosted the Friends Worship Group of Ocala, and led the Bible Study at the Gainesville Friends Meeting. His ministry included volunteering weekly at Munroe Regional Medical Center to visit and pray with heart patients.

He counted his blessings every day and marveled at God's Amazing Grace.

No work in his life pleased him more than raising his three sons. He will be missed by his wife Ellie; his sons Paul, Mark and Rob; his two granddaughters Marie and Rennie; his grandson Ryan; and great-grandson Lars.

Following are words of appreciation which Larry’s youngest son Rob wrote for him in celebration of his last birthday.


All of these qualities: your profound spirituality; your passion for justice; your identification with the oppressed; your compassionate service to others; your commitment to interpersonal engagement; and your dedication to following your own path; all of these qualities have been passed on to me. I find myself proud to feel that, in many ways, I am carrying on your works. 

As we celebrate your 90TH birthday, as you draw ever closer to becoming, in Henry James' term, "all spirit," I hope that you can feel that, in the deepest way possible, I am truly your son,and that it brings you satisfaction and pleasure. I know that it brings me profound comfort, pride and delight to feel that I am, in the deepest way possible, your son and that you are, in the deepest way possible truly my father.”

Robert Edwin Clayton, Psy.D.

15 March 2016

William Blake, Jerusalem, Plate 5

 "I rest not from my great task!

To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes

Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into Eternity

Ever expanding in the Bosom of God. the Human Imagination        

O Saviour pour upon me thy Spirit of meekness & love:"