Russell Vernon Clay

Monday, May 14, 2007

July 25, 1924 -- April 23, 2007

Russell Clay, a longtime resident of Eureka Springs, departed this life Monday, April 23, at the age of 82.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Katherine Higgins Clay; four daughters, Russene Clay, Debbie Clay, Kathy Harrison, and Dee Garrett, all of Eureka Springs; 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother.

Mr. Clay graduated from Central High School in Tulsa, Okla., where he also became a member of the Institute for Certification of Engineering Technicians and began his career as a draftsman for Allied Steel.

He served in Normandy, France, in the Army of Engineers during WWII from 1943-1946. At his discharge he received a WWII Victory Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, and three Bronze Service Stars.

Returning to Tulsa after his discharge, Mr. Clay married Katherine Higgins on June 2, 1946, and continued working as a structural and civil drafting supervisor for the next 35 years in Oklahoma and Texas.

In 1977, Russell and his wife Katy found the home of their dreams in Eureka Springs, and opened Katy's Korner, a popular tearoom that touched the lives of many Eureka residents and tourists. They also started Faith Christian Fellowship in their home in 1978. The remodeling of this home started Russell's next career after his retirement in Tulsa.

The next 25 years, Mr. Clay successfully renovated and reconstructed numerous homes and buildings in the community. The relocation of the Queen Anne mansion from Carthage, Mo., to Eureka Springs earned Mr. Clay national recognition. He also received a Preservation Award for the Farwell Home on Spring St.

Russell Clay will be remembered and honored as a true Christian man who cared for his family and friends with constant love and support.

A memorial fund has been opened in Mr. Clay's honor at the Community First Bank in Eureka Springs. At his request, the funds will be evenly distributed between the Veterans' Association, Heifer International, and Americans for African Adoption.