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Velma Clay


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Velma Clay Obituary
Doctor Velma Laws Clay

Battle Creek

Doctor Velma Laws Clay, 75,  of Battle Creek, died Friday, July 1, 2016.

Doctor Clay, the daughter of the late Levi Timothy and Juanita Rose Laws, was born November 3, 1940.  As a child she attended Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, where she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior.  She was active in many of the youth activities of the church.  She later became a proud member of Second Missionary Baptist Church.  She has served as a Sunday School Teacher, Coordinator of the Social Outreach Committee and a Mentor in the After School Tutorial Program.

She is a graduate of the Battle Creek Public Schools.  She attended Western Michigan University and received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration in 1987, Masters' Degree in Public Administration, 1991, and a Doctorate in Public Administration in 1998.

Doctor Clay was  the  Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, Hart-Doyle-Inouye Federal Center, retiring in May of 2004, with forty-three years of government service.

She was a 1985 Graduate of the Community Leadership Academy and was a Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.   She served on many boards and  committees throughout Battle Creek, including the Board of Directors for North Pointe Woods, a senior living community, Heritage Battle Creek Historical Society, Sojourner Truth Institute, Battle Creek Art Center, Battle Creek Downtown Development Authority and it's Advisory Committee, Battle Creek Unlimited, Battle Creek Committee on Community Affairs, Battle Creek Community Foundation, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, National Resource Center for the Healing of Racism, Starr Commonwealth Board of Trustees and Second's New Vision and Outreach Ministries, Incorporated.

Doctor Clay was the Chair of the Sojourner Truth 200th Birthday Anniversary Celebration in1997 and was Chair of the Sojourner Truth Monument Project, unveiled in September of 1999.

In 1996, the Battle Creek Chapter, Negro Business and Professional Women, awarded her the  Sojourner Truth Award.  In 1997, the Battle Creek Rotary Club awarded her the Red Rose Award and the Battle Creek Chamber of Commerce presented her the Athena Award.  In 1999, she received the George Award from the Battle Creek Enquirer.  In 2001, she was recognized as the Alumnus of the Year by Kellogg Community College and Western Michigan University School of Public Affairs and Administration awarded her the Alumni Achievement Award.

Doctor Clay was selected by Scene Magazine as the 2003 Women of the Year.  She was an avid art collector and was instrumental in bringing African American Artists to Battle Creek through the W K Kellogg Expert In Resident Program.  She and her twin sister, Vivian Ritter, brought the educational series 'Journey to Freedom' to communities in Michigan, New York and the District of Columbia. She leaves a lifetime legacy of an activist, foot soldier and a steward of the legacy of Sojourner Truth.

She is survived by son, Darryl Clay, brother, Count L. Laws both of Battle Creek, twin sister, Vivian Ritter, Washington, District of Columbia.

The family will receive friends, Friday, July 8, 2016, after 4:00 p.m., Second Missionary Baptist Church, 485 North Washington Avenue, with Memorial Reflections at 6:00 p.m.

Services, 11:00 a.m. Saturday, July 9, 2016, Second Missionary Baptist Church, Reverend William J. Wyne, Officiating.

Interment, Memorial Park Cemetery.

Arrangements, T M Hughes-Perry Mortuary, LLC
Published in Battle Creek Enquirer on July 6, 2016
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