May 19, 1935 — February 2, 2018
Clayton Wood passed peacefully surrounded by family on February 2, 2018, after a brief illness.
He was born May 19, 1935, in Junction City, Oregon, to Herbert and Laura Helen (Shelton) Wood. The family moved to Millersburg in 1942, where his family owned a dairy which operated for many years. They later added a feed pellet mill.
In his young life, he achieved many agricultural honors. In 1946, he was named the County 4-H Club Corn Champion and received a scholarship to the 1949 4-H summer school. He served as reporter of the Future Farmers of America chapter in 1951-52 and vice president 1952-1953. He attended the national FFA convention as a chapter delegate in the fall of 1952 where he also took part in the poultry judging team in Kansas City, Missouri. He was named State Farmer in 1953. In 1954, he took first place in Kenland Clover and Markton Oats at the FFA Fair. He received the highest honor in the Future Farmers of America, being named Degree of American Farmer in October 1955.
In 1960, he was named as Linn County Outstanding Farmer of the Year. In 1963, Clayton and Ernie Henschel started Mill-Rite Farms, producing cattle feed and shipping to locations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California. In addition, the family farmed grass seed which started at 300 acres and grew to 1200 acres.
After his graduation in 1953, he began his service to his community. In 1962, he was appointed to the Linn Soil and Water Conservation District. In 1971, he was Agricultural Chairman for the Morning Star Grange and served as an officer of the Millersburg School Board in 1972.
Ironically, after opposing the formation of Millersburg as an incorporated city, he served two years on the planning commission and as mayor for 40 years, retiring in 2016. Clayton was an incorporator and founding member of the Albany-Millersburg Economic Development Corporation. With Clayton’s leadership, Millersburg grew into the thriving community it is today.
Although his plan to enlist in the Air Force was halted when playing second base, when a runner slid in and broke his ankle, he pursued his dream of flying, becoming a pilot in 1959. He became an avid aviator, including being instrument-rated, and continued to fly until 2011. He was a longtime member of Quiet Birdmen. He often flew to the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California. He and LaVonne would take the grandkids in the airplane to the Coast for ice cream. The grandkids still remind grandma how much fun it was.
Clayton married Roberta Kokotan in June 1963. They had two children, Gary and Shari.
Clayton married LaVonne Knudtson on May 24, 1997. With this marriage, Clayton’s family grew. Clayton and LaVonne enjoyed 20 wonderful years together. Their travels included trips to North Dakota, Texas, Arizona, and a very special trip to Norway.
He was preceded in death by his mother; father; first wife, Roberta; and stepson, Douglas Knudtson.
He is survived by his loving wife, LaVonne; sister, Sharon Henschel; daughter, Shari Johnson; son, Gary (Tami) Wood; stepchildren, Brenda Mainord, Jan Knudtson (Doug’s wife), Janelle (Jack) Nichols, Karla (Corey) Tackitt and Kathy (Scott) Dixon; grandchildren, Schyler, Megan, Jennifer, Kyle (Ashley), Brooke (Rosco), Austin, Logan (Cortney), Jessica (Doug), Alissa, Dalton, Morgan, Noah and Owen; great-grandchildren Jayden, Westin, Bentley, Jaxson, Ava, Cole, Davis, Hollyn, Myla, Dylan and Drake; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, the church Clayton and LaVonne attended, or to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Viewing will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, February 12, 2018, at Fisher Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at Hope Church, (formerly the First Assembly of God) with Pastor Laura O’Brien from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church officiating.
Fisher Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Online condolences for the family may be posted at www.fisherfuneralhome.com.