The Rev. Luther Clayton died Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010. He was born March 8, 1920, in Many, La., to the Rev. Lemmie and Rebecca Clayton.
He arrived in Arizona on April 14, 1946. He and his family joined the Springhill Baptist Church, and he became a sawmill worker and pulpwood truck owner, running his own business. In May 1950, the Rev. Lemmie Clayton shepherded a small flock in Holbrook. The Rev. Luther Clayton took over the church in Holbrook when The Rev. Gray resigned. Under the Rev. Clayton the church was officially named St. John Baptist Church from "Rehobath," which meant "Room for All."
Since 1948, the Rev. Clayton has been instrumental in a number of organizations, which benefited the church and the people. He organized three new churches in northern Arizona, two in Holbrook and on May 24, 1959, Galilee Baptist Church was organized in Williams. The Rev. James T. McElroy preached the sermon. On June 4, 1959, the members gave the Rev. Clayton $32.50 for the down payment on the church lot. The church borrowed $600 from the Paradise Baptist State Convention to start building the church in 1961. The church paid the money back at $50.10 every quarterly board meeting.
The Rev. Clayton was an organizer of the Northern Baptist District Association, which included six churches. He has served as "moderator" in this association; was president of the Sunday School and BTU Congress; he was nominated for Flagstaff's "Sun" citizen of the year in 1968. He even ran for a city council seat in Flagstaff. He was a member of the Masons for more than 30 years.
He has helped many families, all over the state. He supported the Paradise State Congress of Christian Education; was president of the Paradise Baptist State Convention of Arizona, Inc. In 1996, he retired form the Coconino County Community Service department. He also was vice-president of the NAACP in Flagstaff and served on numerous "boards" for community projects.
The Rev. Luther Clayton is survived by 12 children: Maxine Warree of Shreveport, La., Luther Mae Golston, Gerlene and Donald Thompson, Leon Clayton and Gilbert Clayton, all of Albuquerque, N.M., Rebecca and Randle Carter and Mamie Lee and Paul Broun, all of Carson, Calif., Tilli Ann Tilford of San Diego, Cemie and Terilyn Roberson Clayton of Flagstaff, Tommy Clayton of Phoenix and Tyron Daughtery of Las Vegas; 10 stepchildren, Ester and Hank Brown of Phoenix, Nell and Edgar Brown of Williams, Lester Tisino of Pineville, La., Jesse Tisino of Flagstaff, Harold Jr. Hatcher of East Liverpool, Ohio, Sandra Hatcher of Phoenix, Billy and Karen Hatcher of Cinncinati, Johnny Hatcher of Williams, Samuel Hatcher of Laveen and Kimberly Bailey of Phoenix. He also survived by 32 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren on the Clayton side, plus a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren from First Lady Hatcher/Clayton side, as well as many relatives and friends.
Visitation will be Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. followed by a service at 5 p.m. at First Missionary Baptist Church in Flagstaff. A funeral service will be Saturday at 10 a.m. at Christ Church of Flagstaff.
Condolences may be left for the family at www.norvelowensmortuary.com.
Norvel Owens Mortuary is handling arrangements.