MAIN LOCATION:
4780 N. University Ave., Provo 
OFFICES: Orem, Park City & Heber City
Phone: (801) 405-7444
Fax: (801) 841-9702
Email: Nelson@NelsonMortuary.com

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Keith Clayton

Keith Joseph Clayton

Sunday, July 20th, 1941 - Sunday, March 8th, 2020
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Obituary

Important Update

In light of recent events, service plans have been updated and enhanced. Like you, we are deeply concerned and want to do what we can to keep our communities and our families safe and healthy. We are changing the time and place of the services to accommodate a live broadcast of the funeral for those who are unable to attend.

If any members wishing to attend are sick, have a fever or a cough, we ask instead that they stay home and view the live video broadcast (see internet link listed above: Photos & Videos). Similarly, if someone is aged and in frail health, we request that they not attend, but rather participate via the broadcast link below. Services will also be recorded and may be made available afterwards.

Please note new times and location for the Saturday viewing and funeral.

All services (viewings and funeral) will be held at the Nelson family Mortuary, 4780 N. University Ave., Provo

The family will greet friends on Friday evening, March 13 from 6:00-8:00 pm

A second visitation before funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 14 from 1:00-1:45 pm at the Mortuary

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 2:00 pm at the Mortuary

For those unable to attend in person, please go to the obituary page where a live video feed of the funeral service will be made available:

https://www.nelsonmortuary.com/memorials/keith-clayton/4129871/index.php



In Memorium

Keith Clayton was a friend to everyone. He was your friend, even if you hadn't met him yet. He cultivated kindness and goodwill everywhere he went. He considered care for others his calling in life. Even when his health was declining, he would make it a point to visit all the families in his neighborhood, door-to-door, and ask about their welfare and to offer words of encouragement.

From the time he was young, he was taught by his parents to be courageous and to be kind. In third grade, he came home from school dejected, after having flunked both math and spelling. His mother hugged him a long time, and then told him, “your mother didn't raise any stupid children." This experience gave him courage. While he would never be described as a “good speller” he was a dedicated student and unafraid to look foolish by trying new things.

Although he was very friendly, he considered himself “socially backward” as a child. One day, the leader of the group of popular kids was making fun of Keith and saying terrible things about him. Although that boy was bigger than him and much stronger, Keith went up to him and hit him in the chest as hard as he could. They had a fight that ended in a draw. They were friends after that.

Faith in God was instilled in him as a child and his testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was his most prized possession. When he was 16 years old, he attended the dedication ceremony of the Los Angeles temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He cried through the entire two hour meeting. He said his feet "didn't touch the ground" for several hours. Later, he realized that these feelings were the Holy Spirit bearing witness that the Church was indeed true. His faith and testimony grew as he served a mission to the East French Mission, and in many church callings throughout his life ranging from ward bishop to stake president to printer of the programs for sacrament meetings.

When he was in junior high school, Keith's parents, Vaughn and Eunice Clayton had been discussing the career advantages of living overseas. His father was a senior diplomat and had opportunities to move the family to Spain and Egypt, but the timing wasn't right for either of these. Then a new opportunity came up for a position in Greece. His father telephoned his mother and asked if she would like to go. Her answer was, “Yes! Where is Greece?"

In Athens, Keith was elected student body president of the American Academy. He supposed that this was because he “was the only one who wasn't afraid to speak in public." He said he learned this skill by giving talks in Primary and Sunday School as a boy growing up in the Church. His family members were the only members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the city of Athens. This was fortuitous when the US Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, visited the country on an inspection tour. The government didn't know how to host a “Mormon” so they assigned Secretary Benson's entire visit to Keith's family. The family members served as guides and interpreters for Brother and Sister Benson and their daughters during the length of their stay in Greece.

Living in Athens offered a cornucopia of educational opportunities and Keith took every advantage of as many of these as he could. He toured the Parthenon and visited Mount Olympus, the ruins at Delphi, Corinth, and many other world heritage sites. His boy scout troop hiked the twenty-six mile path from Marathon to Athens every year. They spent summer vacation with friends on the island of Corfu. Family vacations included road trips throughout the Mediterranean, Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Their car came equipped with diplomatic license plates, which simplified international travel. Ordinary tourists had to stop at each national border, unload everything from their cars, and then endure long waits (sometimes for days) while customs officers haggled over inconsequential things until finally (usually after paying a bribe) they might be allowed to reload and proceed. In contrast, Keith's family would simply drive around the lines of other cars, show their diplomatic passports to the officials, and be waived through without even getting out of the car. These travel experiences gave him a broad understanding of different cultures and perspective on various peoples of the world.

From the time he was young, Keith found ways to express his creative talents. As a young boy he built models and learned to draw and paint. In Santa Monica, he became close friends with two other boys in his church ward, Fred and Don Bluth. They pursued their art interests together, drawing in a back yard animation studio, scavenging discarded animation cells from Disney Animation Studios and creating sets and scenery for their own church musical. After high school, Keith would go on to earn a full scholarship to a four-year art program at BYU, and although he changed his major to Pre-Med after returning from his mission, BYU allowed him to keep the scholarship.

While employed at the Graphic Arts Department, he met a beautiful young secretary named Connie Hall. The two of them hit it off, quite literally, by playing tennis together. They dated before and they corresponded while Keith served a Church mission to the France East Mission.

While serving at the mission office in Geneva, Switzerland, Keith was asked to help publish the mission newsletter. It was here that he learned about printing presses and this was the beginning of his lifelong interest in printing. Like most small-run publications, the mission newsletter was printed in black-and-white, but Keith innovated his own method of screening and printing in 3 colors, which was a first for any mission newsletter.

Of his mission he would later write: “I learned to love people of every nationality by loving them and serving them as a missionary. I also was my best student as a missionary and confirmed my testimony that indeed, the Church was true.”

Upon his return to BYU, he swiftly reconnected with the charming Connie Hall and later that same year they were married in the Salt Lake Temple. Elder LeGrand Richards, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, performed the sealing ceremony. For the next fifty five years, Keith and Connie were inseparable.

When Keith was accepted to the University of Utah medical school, Connie supported him by working as a teacher at Maeser Elementary in Provo and later by carefully managing their family finances. With her help, they were able to graduate from medical school–with honors-- without any debt.

At his graduation ceremony, Russel M. Nelson, advisor to the College of Medicine presented him with the Florence M. Strong Award – for, “in addition to scholastic attainment, demonstrating sincere understanding and compassion for patients under his care.”

He was one of the first two pediatricians in all of Utah Valley when he began his practice and for the next forty years he helped patients and parents as a pediatrician.

Dr. Clayton had a remarkable quality of becoming more peaceful when the situation became more stressful and chaotic. In panic situations where others were losing control, you could actually see him becoming completely calm and focused. This was a skill that would often be put to use, sometimes, for unexpected reasons. One Sunday dinner was interrupted by a neighbor girl frantically knocking at the door and shouting, “Dr. Clayton, come quick! Come quick! It's an emergency!” He grabbed a medical bag that was prepared for just such occasions and, with the frantic girl, hurried down the street and out of sight. An hour later, walking calmly, he returned. The family was anxious to hear news of the emergency. With a smile he said, “their cat was having kittens.”

Growing up in the Clayton household was wonderful because Keith was a master creator of imaginative and fun environments for children. He designed and built a back yard playground by himself, complete with full-sized, American Indian teepee, elevated playhouse, covered sandbox and later a second playhouse with a secret passageway and two hidden rooms. Surrounding this playground he and his wife planted pears, apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, as well as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. There was never a want among the children for as much fruit as they wanted when they wanted.

Keith loved making people feel special, and he looked for opportunities to spread happiness. One evening, when his children were in high school, they invited friends over for a late night swim. In fact it was very late at night with the rest of the house sleeping when Keith was awakened by the splashing and came outside to see what was going on. Rather than a stern reproach of the nocturnal noisemakers, he asked if anyone was hungry and offered to bring them some snacks.

He was a man who made things better, no matter what the circumstances. After driving hours to a ward camp out, the family was dismayed to discover that they had brought the tent but no tent poles. Without a word, Keith disappeared and a short time later he emerged with a suitable set of makeshift poles he had hacked from the surrounding trees. Similarly, one Christmas which he was spending at a cabin up Springville canyon with his family, he awoke early to drive into town to round at the hospital and was first to discover that an avalanche had destroyed his beautiful new van, and destroyed two other cabins as well. He never said a word about his own loss, but moved quickly to help everyone else who was affected by the damage.

Keith's creativity was often super-sized. Christmas cards were hand made and distributed to every family and friend in the ward and area. Every year he developed a new card with an entirely new concepts including custom-made board games delivered in a pizza box, cassette tape presentations, holiday activity books, 12 month calendars, advent calendars made of fabric, and so many others. All of these incorporated his unique artistic talents and what next year's card would be like soon became the talk of the neighborhood.

Another example of his creativity put to use was when he was asked to teach elementary school students about good hygiene. He spent the entire night before with a sewing machine making gigantic models made of shiny satin cloth into shapes representing a pink nose, red lips, a white hand with a prop “handkerchief” as large as a baby blanket. The resulting presentation was probably the most memorable and effective lesson on hand washing and nose blowing the school ever had!

When it came to cooking, his creativity continued. He would make mix up big batches of oatmeal or spaghetti and then would add peaches to both the oatmeal and to the spaghetti sauce. "Why not try it?" he would say, "It might be fun"! The vegetable garden he planted had so many tomatoes they all couldn't even be given away, so he employed multiple fruit dehydrators to create the world's first (and last) “tomato leather.”

In August, 2019, Keith exhibited signs of a stroke and was rushed to the emergency room. He couldn't move, walk, or speak coherently. As he lay in the bed at the hospital, confused about where he was and in visible pain, he remained calm and continued to smile. This was his nature. In fact, one of the nurses commented, “he's the smiling-ist sick patient I've ever seen”! Days later, tests revealed that the true cause of his affliction was bacterial meningitis. Over the course of the next six months, with the consequences of meningitis took their toll on him, causing him to steadily decline to the point that he could not recover. Thankfully, he was able to spend the last few months side-by-side with his eternal sweetheart, Connie and surrounded by family and friends.

We feel incredibly blessed that so many of us were able to visit with him shortly before his passing, and feel grateful that he passed away peacefully. We had a very good last day together, with all of his living children and most all of the grandchildren able to visit him and mom at their bedside and kiss and hug him and say our last goodbyes until we meet again.

They truly must have "broke the mold" when they created Keith Clayton and he will be sorely missed, but the pain that is felt by those who love him is mitigated by the knowledge that we will see him again after this life, and thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity for eternal families.

Keith is preceded in death by his parents Vaughn and Eunice Clayton, his older sister Yvonne, his infant son Jonathan, and his sons Keith and Michael.

He is survived by his bride of 55 years, Connie Hall, his brother, John Clayton, his sister, Christine Springman, by his children David (wife Hyea Won), Lisa (husband Stuart), Julie (husband Joseph), Matthew (wife Melissa), Amy (husband Ryan), and by 29 grandchildren.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, March 13th, 2020 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    When
    Friday, March 13th, 2020 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Location
    Nelson Family Mortuary
    Address
    4780 N. University Ave.
    PROVO, UT 84604
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Second Visitation

    Saturday, March 14th, 2020 | 1:00pm - 1:45pm
    When
    Saturday, March 14th, 2020 1:00pm - 1:45pm
    Location
    Nelson Family Mortuary
    Address
    4780 N. University Ave.
    PROVO, UT 84604
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, March 14th, 2020 | 2:00pm
    When
    Saturday, March 14th, 2020 2:00pm
    Location
    Nelson Family Mortuary
    Address
    4780 N. University Ave.
    PROVO, UT 84604
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Saturday, March 14th, 2020 | 3:30pm
    When
    Saturday, March 14th, 2020 3:30pm
    Location
    Springville Evergreen Cemetery
    Address
    1997 South 400 East
    Springville, Utah
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Private Condolence

Aubri StClair

Posted at 08:54pm
Dr clayton was my doctor growing up. My mom saved many of the superbills/receipts from my office visits and put them in my baby book. He always wrote kind things about us on those. I loved getting prizes at his office and seeing the train go around. I didn't realize the similar connections he had with my parents until now. After reading his obit it clicked. I'll never forget my visits to his office and, even now, think and/or remembering him makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Thank you for sharing you husband, dad, grandpa with us.
LR

Lynda Roper

Posted at 03:58pm
Dr. Clayton was the pediatrician for all 5 of our children, and now, Dr. Matthew doctoring a few of my grandchildren, one being Stone Christian Anderson, who's picture still hangs on their bulletin board at the clinic. As a young mother, he was so kind and full of knowledge for me while raising my children and keeping them healthy. My youngest child, Whitney, was able to do an internship at his office with Dr. Matthew Clayton and is now an operating room nurse. So we have quite a few connections with him. And we all LOVE him to pieces. Thank you, Dr. Clayton, for who you are and for all of your endless patience and love.
Glenn and Lynda Roper family
ML

Mary Liddiard

Posted at 11:25pm
Dr Clayton was more than our family pediatrician. We considered him a kind friend always willing to help us with our children's needs whether that was a medical exam before a mission or counseling for a child with anxiety. When our last baby was born, he weighed 2lbs. 6oz. A visit to the NBICU unit became our daily routine. Because our son was born 3 months early, we didn't know from one day to next if he would live. Each day when we visited we would find a note from Dr. Clayton taped to his little bed. Words of encouragement and updates about our son's condition helped us know that Dr Clayton was aware and informed. The staff at the hospital was wonderful as well. Dr Clayton made tiny plaster casts of our sons hand
so that we would have something to keep if our baby did not survive. I still treasure those little reminders now that our son is grown and married. We got our miracle thanks in part to dear Dr Clayton. Many thanks from our family to yours, Don and Mary Liddiard
MS

Marianne Stephens

Posted at 12:49am
I did not hear about Keith's passing until Saturday evening. Our whole family is so sorry we did not know in time to come to the viewing and funeral. We moved into Keith and Connie's neighborhood in 1974, when our oldest children were young. Keith helped us with several small family emergencies at home and we realized what an amazing, kind person and doctor he was. We learned to love him, Connie and their entire famiiy. He became our children's doctor at that time, and continued to serve our children for over 20 years and then many of our grandchildren until his retirement. Several of the grandchildren are patients of Keith's son. Keith is indeed, on of the kindest, most loving, and compassionate people we have ever known, and a very skilled doctor. We will always be grateful to him for the excellent care he gave to all of our children and their parents sometimes as well. Connie, I hope you will feel peace at this time, and comfort in the almost lifetime of memories you have together. Love, Marianne
ER

Eric Rawlings

Posted at 08:39pm
Dr. Clayton was my pediatrician when I was born he took care of both my brother Daniel and myself, I was too young to remember him but my mom has always said that he was the kindest man you will ever meet. I was born two months early and he was a great source of comfort for my mother. When my mom took me in for a check up when I was six months old he told my mom that I could be the baby Jesus. love and prayers to the Clayton family thank you for sharing your wonderful father. Eric Rawlings
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