CENTRAL SQUARE - Clair A. "Pastor" Day, 100, was taken to his reserved home in heaven Saturday (Jan. 21, 2017), following several months of sickness and suffering.
Clair was born June 9, 1916, at the Buckeye Corners farm home near Waldron, Mich.
He and his 10 brothers and sisters, as well as his stepsister, worked as a family on their large, fertile farm in southern Michigan.
By the time Clair was 16, he had decided to give his life to the lord Jesus Christ, and as soon as he graduated from high school he attended Michigan State College for Teachers at Ypsilanti, Mich. It wasn't long before the tug was so strong that he knew he was to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He trained for the ministry in the United Brethren in Christ Church. As a quarterly conference preacher in 1936, he pastored a small church in Franklin, Pa.
He married his sweetheart, Olive N. Price, in 1937, and they continued to pastor in Franklin until 1939.
Clair spent several years in the United Brethren Church pastoring churches and traveling in a trailer with his family while he conducted evangelistic services. In 1943, he was ordained as an elder while serving a church in Detroit. This was during World War II, and Clair was working at night in a defense plant for the war effort. Shortly thereafter, Clair and Olive united with the Wesleyan Methodist Church, and in 1943 they began pastoring a rural church near Owosso, Mich.
Later they took a pastorate in Waldron, Clair's hometown from which he had graduated high school. The church flourished, and during this time he felt led to organize Salvation Camp on property donated by a wonderful Christian farmer. There he built a large tabernacle where evangelists and singing groups were invited in from all over the United States. He remained president of the camp for years, even after he moved away. Other leaders subsequently stepped up and continued the work for many years and continued to reap a remarkable harvest of souls.
The first of their four children was beginning high school; their church college, Houghton College, was just 77 miles south of Buffalo. The family moved to South Buffalo to organize the Big Tree Wesleyan Methodist Church. Clair and Olive commuted to Houghton College to study Greek, Latin, writing and ministerial subjects. The family finished building a house in Houghton near the college campus; they moved in in 1959, one year before their oldest child graduated from the college. There, Olive worked for 20 years at Houghton College as a secretary, and Clair commuted to Machias to pastor until his retirement in 1984. During this period, Clair and a dear minister friend were referred to as the "Ordained Carpenters" since they were both talented builders, which helped them support their families during the more needy times in their ministries.
In 1986, Clair and Olive moved to small cottage on the Oneida River just north of Syracuse. Olive called it her heaven on earth; she enjoyed the peace and quiet in this pastoral setting until her death in 2004.
Pastor Day continued to fill in various pulpits in the area and sing in numerous churches. He had served as interim pastor at a newly organized Wesleyan Church in Mallory outside Central Square.
Later, Clair met and married Lora "Sunny" Goodman. The nickname Sunny described her well, as she encouraged Clair so much; he assisted her with an eyesight problem, which required cooking her meals and adjusting her movement within the house. Sunny died of a heart problem five years later.
Clair Day will be remembered by his family for his constant care and his living example of a godly man. Throughout his many years of ministry, he always reached out to touch the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of everyone who crossed his path.
Clair was the last of his 10 brothers and sisters, leaving behind only his dear stepsister, Naomi. He had four children: two living, David A. Day, retired from 27 years as a U.S. Air Force officer and now living with his wife, Evelyn Smith Day, in Oklahoma City; and Constance Arline Day, retired from 34 years as an English and French teacher and now living in Oklahoma City with her granddaughter, Micah Green.
Two children preceded Clair in death, Barbara Sue Day, who had completed 32 years in Indian Lake as an English and French teacher, and Carole Hope Hoyer, who worked for 34 years in Syracuse with her undertaker husband in raising a family and doing the bookkeeping for the business.
Clair had one granddaughter who preceded him in death. In addition, he left seven grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to "Global Partners-Amplifying Mission: The mission focus of the Wesleyan Church" at www.globalpartnersonline.org
or at P.O. Box 5034, Indianapolis, IN 46037.
Published by Olean Times Herald from Jan. 26 to Jan. 27, 2017.