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George Roberts Clay

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SHELBURNE -- George Roberts Clay, 85, formerly of Manchester, died May 22, 2007, at Wake Robin.

He was born Oct. 23, 1921, in Philadelphia, Pa., the son of Robert and Elizabeth (Roberts) Clay. He graduated from Groton School in 1939 and with a B.A. in history from Harvard University in 1943.

Mr. Clay was a communications officer aboard the destroyer USS Clemson during World War II. In 1948, he married Ann Clement Robinson; they divorced in 1990.

After the war, he began publishing short stories, two of which appeared in “The Best American Short Stories” anthology. In 1948, he worked for a Radio Free Europe monthly magazine, “News From Behind the Iron Curtain.” In the 1950s, he had a short story contract with The New Yorker magazine. He also spent two years writing for The New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, N.Y. Later he edited a literary quarterly, University. Through the 1960s, he published more short stories and wrote reviews for The New York Times Book Review. He also co-founded and operated Indecks Inc., a punch card information retrieval company, until the 1980s.

In the 1970s, Mr. Clay was president of The Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences and a trustee of The Vermont Historical Society. Random House published his novel, “Family Occasions,” in 1978. In 1996, he received a master of fine arts degree in fiction from Vermont College in Montpelier. In 1998, Northwestern University Press published his “Tolstoy’s Phoenix: From Method to Meaning in ‘War and Peace’.” In 2002, he contributed a chapter to Cambridge University Press’s book, “The Cambridge Companion to Tolstoy.” He also published poems and a number of literary essays in “Persephone,” “Writers Chronicle” and “Fourth Genre,” among other journals.

At Wake Robin, he enjoyed classes in drawing and watercolor painting, and was involved in the movie program.

Survivors include his former wife; seven children, Langdon Clay II of Sumner, Miss., Catharine Clay of Lebanon, N.H., Owen Clay of Charlotte, Elly Clay, Abby Clay, both of South Burlington, Sarah Clay-Young of Springfield and Clem Clay of Amherst, Mass.; 16 grandchildren; a brother, Langdon Clay of Honeoye Falls, N.Y.; many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by a sister, Mary Muller, and two brothers, Richard Clay and Robert Clay.

The memorial service will be held at 2:15 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Wake Robin Community Center, 200 Wake Robin Drive, Shelburne.
Published in Bennington Banner on May 31, 2007
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