NEWPORT NEWS - Claude Alva Eley died April 17, 2012.
He was born in Portsmouth, Va., on May 17, 1919, the youngest child of Edward E. and Olivia Hart Eley but spent most of his life as a resident of Newport News. One of his fondest memories as a child was serving as a caddy at the Camp Stuart golf course, predecessor to the James River Country Club. It was during those days that he became a lifelong lover of the sport.
Claude graduated from Newport News High School in 1936 and then the Apprentice School, where he was co-captain of the A-School Golf Team and president of the school's Monogram Club. During Word World II he served in Merchant Marines, primarily in the Mediterranean and South Pacific.
Following the war he returned to Newport News and was hired as a salesman for the Sherwin-Williams Co. In 1951, he resigned as a regional sales manager and returned to Newport News and opened Eley's Paint and Wallpaper Company. He retired as president of Eley's Inc. in 1985. He was an active member of the Original Club and later of Kiwanis. He served as president of the Newport News Kiwanis Club in 1968. He served on the Board of Governors of the National Decorating Products Association, as president of the Williamsburg Country Club, and was an active member of the James River Country Club.
Claude was preceded in death by his parents, his four brothers and two sisters, and his first wife, Doris Cope Eley.
He was a devoted husband, father, stepfather and uncle. He is survived by his loving wife, traveling companion and dedicated caregiver, Mary (Mickey); his sons, Chuck Eley (Kathleen Evans), of Smithfield, and Jeff Eley, of Savannah, Ga.; his grandson, Todd Eley, of Hampton; four step-daughters, Deidere Dudley, Denise Peck, Daren Breed, and Dawn Archer, their families; and four nieces and three nephews.
A service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the Peninsula Funeral Home, officiated by the Rev. Bill Lamont. Burial will follow at Peninsula Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the residence in Walnut Grove immediately following.
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