John M. Clay Sr., Korean War vet, police captain

By on October 24, 2012

John Mitchell Clay Sr., 79, long-time local of Drexel Hill and recent resident of Denver, died Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 at Heartland Hospice Services in Wilmington, Del.

He was born March 14, 1933 in Bryn Mawr to John P. Clay and Elizabeth Clay (Mitchell). He was a loving husband to the late Patricia A. Clay (McGettigan) for 43 years.

Mr. Clay was eager to serve his country and joined the service at age 15 in 1948. He served as a radio operator in the rank of staff sergeant, flying missions in the Korean War with the 6147th Tactical Air Control Squadron "Mosquitos" of the Army Air Corps from 1949 to 1953. He joined the Upper Darby Township Police Department upon returning to the U.S. and served his community for 35 years, retiring as captain of police. Following his career with the police department, Mr. Clay served as deputy director of emergency services in Media, Delaware County, coordinating the 911 system.

Mr. Clay was active and well respected within the community that he served. He was recognized as a Fourth Degree Knight of the Order of the Knights of Columbus.

He is survived by his sisters and brothers: Rosina Montgomery, Rev. David Clay, SSC, Gerald Clay, Sally Ann Clay and James Clay; as well as his children: Patricia A. Hollenback, of Aston, wife of the late Harry Hollenback; John M., husband of Cherly Clay, of Doylestown; Kathleen, wife of Danie M. Boyden, of Scottsville, Va.; David J., husband of Julie Clay, of Phoenixville; Dennis J., husband of Theresa Clay, of Forest, Va.; Patrick J. Clay, of Cassville; and Christine, wife of Ken Keck, of Drexel Hill. He will be deeply missed by his 17 grandchildren and his many nieces and nephews.

A mass of Christian burial was held Oct. 19 at St. Cyril of Alexandria Church, East Lansdowne. Interment followed immediately at SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Upper Darby Township Police Relief Association, 7236 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby, PA 19082.

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