September 9, 2007

Eddie Clay honored

by Larry Miller

During weekend ceremonies on September 7-8, 2007, Charles "Eddie" Clay of Hot Springs, was among 13 outstanding citizens inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame. It was an impressive event, and I was delighted to be among the hundreds of attendees who enjoyed learning about these great folks and getting acquainted with many of them. But it was especially great to visit with Eddie and Clara Clay and family members who attended.
I’ve known Eddie Clay since 1985, when he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors that governs South Dakota Public Broadcasting. I was Deputy Executive Director of the network, and I was among the many staff members who looked up to Eddie and admired his professionalism, his wisdom, and his sage advice.

Their daughter, Bobbi Kennedy, and I conspired many months ago to nominate Eddie for the Hall of Fame, and we were overjoyed that he made it the first year he was nominated!

Eddie was born in 1922 in Stahl, Missouri and moved to Eldora, Iowa at an early age. After graduating from high school in 1940, he enlisted in the military and served with the 8th Air Force in the Pacific. Assignment to Ellsworth Air Force Base allowed him to meet and marry the love of his life, Clara May Hagen – shown in this picture with Eddie and their daughter Bobbi Kennedy. Eddie and Clara owned and operated Fall River Abstract for 43 years. And all who know Eddie and Clara know that theirs is a true “partnership” in all that they do in life.

A tireless worker in civic affairs, Eddie has provided vision and leadership to the Mount Rushmore Society, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, the Mammoth Site at Hot Springs, and numerous other organizations.

His service in the legislature and on Boards of Directors for many educational, tourism and arts organizations has been remarkable. A Mason for 50 years, Eddie Clay has been a role model for me and many South Dakotans. In addition to daughter Bobbi, the Clays have four grandchildren and four great children.

I was delighted to meet those family members able to attend the ceremony, along with friends from Hot Springs. I’ve posted a few photographs of the Hall of Fame event. More will be added in the coming days.
Well done to the Hall of Fame staff for putting together a terrific program – and for having the good sense to elect Charles “Eddie” Clay as a 2007 inductee! For a glimpse of all inductees into the 2007 South Dakota Hall of Fame, visit our Hall of Fame Gallery at Galey Media.

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