Henry Leroy (Roy) Clay, 84
Henry Leroy (Roy) Clay, longtime resident of Orofino, passed away Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, at Clearwater Valley Hospital in Orofino after a sudden and unexpected illness. His children were with him at his bedside when the good Lord called him home. Roy was born in Lewiston on Jan. 22, 1927, to William F. Clay and Marcelle Nadine Hengan. He was the oldest of three children.
The family relocated to Portland, Ore., during his high school years, where he worked in the shipyards learning various trades and skills. After graduating from Franklin High School in Portland, he attended Oregon State University in Corvallis studying engineering.
Roy married Rose Marie Lenz Dec. 28, 1947. Having missed Idaho, Roy and Rose moved to Orofino, where he worked in the Orofino Creamery. Roy also put his skills to work in the construction field, where he built and remodeled many homes, including his own, which he lived in at the time of his death. In 1957, Roy purchased the Fountain in Orofino and eventually decided to remodel it, renaming it the Ponderosa Restaurant. It later became the Ponderosa Restaurant and Brass rail, and is a thriving business today. On Nov. 10, 2002, Roy lost his wife and best friend of 55 years.
Roy leaves behind his most precious gift of all, his three children and their spouses of Orofino, who were the center of his life; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; a half-brother and half-sister; and a step-sister.
Throughout the years, Roy established friends all over the Northwest, many of them high-ranking politicians who often sought advice from Roy regarding local issues. Roy cared about his community and cared even more for the people who lived in Orofino. To help make a difference, he ran for city council in 1970 and won. In 1974, he ran for mayor and served 12 years as the chief elected official of Orofino. After a break in public service, he was asked to fill a vacancy on the city council, which he accepted. He subsequently won re-election and was running for the city council again at the time of his death. Between being mayor and his tenure on the city council, he served a total of 28 years as a public servant. The only thing he cherished more was his family, his business at the Ponderosa and his love of flying – oh, how he loved to fly.
Roy served as president of the Orofino Chamber of Commerce as well as president of the North Idaho Chamber of Commerce (NICC). The NICC is a nonpartisan organization that has enormous influence with the Idaho Legislature. He believed in standing up and making his voice heard, especially if proposed legislation impacted local government or private sector businesses. Throughout the years he was asked to run for the state Legislature but declined. He remained nonpartisan because he felt he could better serve his community and business environment without taking heated sides.
Roy received many awards throughout his lifetime. Other than his children and family, he was proud of his work trying to ameliorate the jurisdictional differences between the Nez Perce Tribe and many public entities in North Central Idaho. As a result of his dedication and perseverance, Harvard University awarded him an Executive Leadership Certificate. As a result, he and three other individuals from North Central Idaho were asked to speak before the Harvard law School, the Harvard Business School and Harvard faculty and the students during a weeklong speaker tour relating to conflict resolution. What Roy didn’t know was that there were world-renowned professionals from all across the globe in attendance looking for new strategies dealing with conflict. They couldn’t figure out what was working in North Central Idaho. It was a very positive week where he and his group showed extra-ordinary leadership.
Final services will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. Friday at the Best Western Lodge in Orofino. Pine Hills Funeral Home of Orofino is in charge of the arrangements. Burial will take place in Lewiston at Lewis-Clark Memorial Gardens.
Memorial donations may be sent to Clearwater Valley Hospital, 301 Cedar St., Orofino, ID 83544.
The Lewiston Tribune, September 27, 2011, p. 5D
Transcribed by Jill Leonard Nock
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