Obituary: Raymond Wright Clanton
Raymond Wright Clanton passed away peacefully in his sleep at home in Cornville, AZ., on Friday, June 27, 2014. He was 92 years old. Raymond was born on December 26, 1921, in Shelbyville, TN., the eldest son of Richard and Allie Clanton.
They moved to California shortly after his birth. He had one brother, Hollis "Hoc," who predeceased him and a baby sister, Frances, who died as an infant. This close-knit family resided in the San Fernando Valley in Southern CA.
Ray was a very devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend. A captor of peoples' hearts, he filled every room he entered with charisma, energy and warmth, only understood by experience.
He leaves behind a legacy of love to his family and friends, and his enduring presence and smile will be deeply missed.
After graduation from North Hollywood High School, he took college classes in business until he enlisted in the United States of America Army Air Corps. He proudly served his country from 1942 - 1945, becoming a co-pilot and then an airplane commander of the B-29 Superfortress, flying 33 harrowing missions over the Empire of Japan during WW2. While in the Air Corps he married first wife, Peggy.
Upon his honorable discharge, he joined his father and brother in the successful development and operation of "North Hollywood Concrete Tile Co.," North Hollywood, CA. By combining their inventive spirits/minds and exceedingly high work standards and ethics, Richard, Ray and Hoc brought to the building industry new concepts in the way concrete blocks were manufactured and designed.
This dynamic trio received several patents and their creative products endure to this day. After several years, this business was purchased by Kaiser Steel Co. Ray looked back on this time of his life as one of his greatest experiences. The bond of father and sons working together so in touch with each other filled him with thankfulness and joy.
From the late 1960s through the mid 1980s, Ray owned and operated Clanton Concrete Products in Saugus, CA., and following a move to Camarillo, CA., he shared the operation of Builders Supply of Ventura County, Oxnard, CA., with his son Richard and wife Peggy. Also, during his residence in Ventura County, he was president of "E.B. Broadcasting of Ventura Co." and was a member of Screen Actors Guild. He had great fun with "walk on" parts in several movies.
In the late 1980's he and wife Peggy decided to move to Sedona, AZ., their favorite vacation destination. Yearning to keep active, and prompted by his avid fondness for golf, he opened a driving range that included activities for the whole family. "Verde Fun Park" off Hwy. 260, Camp Verde, AZ., featured not only a driving range, but batting cages, and mini Indy car track. During this same time period, he was a part-time disc jockey with KAZM.
Following the closing of Verde Fun Park, he married current wife Janice "Jan" and they owned and operated "Olives and More" in the heart of Sedona, AZ. Never one to let his mind rest, and with the encouragement of Jan, he wrote "Fire, Fear and Guts", a true story of the B-29 and Her Gallant Crewmen. It was his hope that this book would one day be included in the public/private school system as a reference for history students. His passion to make a lasting contribution to mankind and his country continued throughout his life and at the time of his death, he was developing to a magnetic motor which he envisioned could be used for a variety of purposes.
Raymond is survived by his wife of almost 18 years, Janice, of Cornville, AZ.; his son, Richard "Rich" and daughter-in-law Cathy, of Ventura, CA.; his daughter, Sharon Clanton Rasmussen of Oak View, CA.; 5 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, and 1 step-son, 2 step-daughters and 10 step-grandchildren.
A memorial service with Military Honors will be held at the Church of the Red Rocks, in Sedona, AZ., on Sat., July 26, at 10 A.M. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the restoration of the B-29 "DOC" in Raymond's name and/or the Church of the Red Rocks (United Church of Christ), Sedona, AZ. This church was very dear to him and deepened his faith in Jesus Christ. His internment will be at Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, CA.
An online guest book is available at www. westcottfuneralhome.com.
Information provided by survivors.