South Dakota has lost one of its outstanding citizens.
Charles "Eddie" Clay of Hot Springs passed away this morning (10/4/12) at the Rapid City Regional Hospital after suffering a stroke yesterday. He was 90 years old.
And most of those 90 years were dedicated to his family, his country, and his community.
It's sad to see the passing of such a remarkable person, and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his wife, Clara, his daughter, Bobbi, and the entire Clay family.
Born in Missouri and raised in Iowa, Eddie served with the 8th Air Force in the Pacific during World War II. Another assignment to Ellsworth Air Force Base allowed him to meet and later marry Clara May Hagen. Eddie was also called up and served during the Korean War.
Eddie and Clara owned and operated Fall River Abstract in Hot Springs for more than 43 years. He was devoted to Clara and Bobbi and his grandchildren.
Our sorrow at Eddie's passing should be quickly tempered by celebration of his numerous and enormous accomplishments during his time on this earth. He was a champion for a wide array of community activities. The list of his many causes is far too long to enumerate here -- and so we mention only a few. They each elicited deep passion and commitment from Eddie. He was not a half-way kind of fellow.
We wrote the following when Eddie was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2007:
"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.
Eddie also served on the powerful Appropriations Committee in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1967 to 1974.
Funeral services for Charles "Eddie" Clay will be at 10:00 a.m., Monday, at the Mueller Center in Hot Springs. A viewing is scheduled for Sunday evening.
You'll find additional information in this news story broadcast earlier today (10/4/12) by KOTA-TV, in which they appropriately acknowledged Eddie as a "visionary." You'll also find a few photos and narratives that we posted in 2007 in this Hall of Fame gallery.