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William F. Clayton

1923 - 2017
William F. Clayton Obituary
William F. Clayton

William Francis Clayton, 93 years old, passed away on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

Bill was born on September 20, 1923 in Charles City, Iowa, to Francis and Louise Clayton. His parents moved to Santa Monica, California, where he graduated from high school in 1941.

Bill joined the Air Force on October 26, 1942, when the United States entered the Great War. He served in England and France and was honorably discharged as a sergeant on December 6, 1945. Bill returned to California attended UCLA where he met Sally Renden, and they were married on August 22, 1946.

An excellent tennis player, Bill played varsity tennis at UCLA under his distinguished coach, the late Fred Perry, who won the British Open at Wimbledon in 1936. Bill followed Perry to Washington and Lee University, while Sally taught high school chemistry until he graduated.

Bill and Sally moved back to the Midwest. Bill graduated from the University of South Dakota Law School in 1951 and they made Sioux Falls their home.

During his career, Bill served two terms as States Attorney and State Legislator. In 1969 he was appointed United States Attorney for South Dakota and served eight years. Bill was then appointed Federal Clerk of Courts for South Dakota, and served until he retired in 1995.

After moving to Sioux Falls, Bill, as well as Sally, continued to play tennis tournaments with his doubles partner, Dr. Warren Opheim, winning many local and state tournaments. The Claytons were involved in the growth of tennis in the 60s, inspiring their five children to play at championship levels. In 1966 they were recognized as Northwest Lawn Tennis Association's tennis family of the year. In 1995, Bill and Sally were inducted in South Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame. Bill also enjoyed hunting and golf.

Bill was an early member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church, where he drafted its By-Laws and served as Council President.

During his career, Bill was a member and President of the Sioux Falls Lions Club and received the distinguished Melvin Jones International Award for Distinguished Service. He was president of the Sioux Falls Legionnaire Club, YMCA mentor and basketball coach, and many more.

Preceding Bill in death were his parents, wife Sally, sister Helen Huska, and children Kristin Mary, Robert Michael, and Elizabeth Mary.

Bill is survived by children Stuart Tufty (Ted), William R. Clayton, and Thomas W. Clayton (Anna); grandchildren Sarah, Laurie, Ryan, Christopher (Mariam), Alexander, Courtney, Mary, and Remington; great-grandchildren Oliver and Hugo; and

step-grandchildren Laura Cameron, Michael Cameron, Carter Cameron and T.J. Tufty.

Visitation is at Miller Funeral Home, 507 S. Main Ave. on Friday, April 28, from 5:00-7:00 pm. Funeral Service will be at Gloria Dei Church, 5500 E 57th Street on Saturday, April 29 at 9:00 am.

Memorials may be directed to the and to the South Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame.
Published in The Argus Leader from Apr. 23 to Apr. 26, 2017
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