[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 76 (Thursday, June 16, 1994)]
[Page S]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[Congressional Record: June 16, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


  Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, the State of Mississippi lost one of its 
finest citizens when Hugh N. Clayton died on April 9.
  Because he was my father-in-law, I have been reluctant to put any 
remarks in the Record calling attention to his life and his 
contributions to the people of Mississippi and to the national 
organizations in which he took such an active part, but he was one of 
the most successful and involved citizen leaders of his generation in 
our State, and he has earned whatever recognition this tribute may 
bring to his good name.
  Although his family members were first in his order of priority and 
affection, he had a very successful career as a lawyer, and he gave 
tremendous amounts of his time to charitable, church and civic 
  His unusual abilities and exemplary service were recognized by 
several organizations on whose national governing bodies he was invited 
to serve. He was on the American Red Cross Board and was national 
convention chairman in 1959. He was on the National Council of Boy 
Scouts of America. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the 
Amercian Bar Association.
  He earned special recognition from the legal profession by his 
selection as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and he 
was a district governor of Rotary International.
  The Methodist Church was one of his most time consuming interests. He 
was not only a Sunday school teacher for 40 years, he was probably one 
of the most devoted and hardest working teachers one could find 
anywhere. He served also as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the 
North Mississippi Methodist Conference for many years.
  The obituary written by Betty Jo Stewart for the New Albany Gazette 
was the best in my opinion of the many articles in the newspapers of 
the mid-south that carried the news of Hugh Clayton's death.
  Together with the sermon of the Reverend Lavelle Woodrick that was 
delivered at the funeral at the First United Methodist Church of New 
Albany, MS, on April 11, an accurate and heart warming account is given 
of the life and influence of a citizen extraordinaire, Hugh N. Clayton.
  His family misses him very much, and all who know him mourn his 
  I ask unanimous consent that the obituary and the sermon be printed 
in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

      Attorney, Church and Civic Leader Hugh N. Clayton, 86, Dies

                         (By Betty J. Stewart)

       Hugh N. Clayton, 86, of New Albany, an esteemed attorney, 
     church and civic leader who achieved national prominence, 
     died Saturday, April 9, 1994 at the Baptist Memorial Hospital 
     Union County after an extended illness.
       Family, friends and professional acquaintances filled First 
     United Methodist Church at 3 p.m. Monday in services that 
     honored his belief in God and his love for his church rather 
     than a personal eulogy.
       The Revs. James McCafferty and Lavelle Woodrick officiated. 
     McCafferty commended Clayton as his choice among Methodist 
     laymen. Woodrick told of Clayton's unselfish service and 
     dedication to his church, giving of himself as the men's 
     Sunday School class teacher, as a legal adviser and as a man 
     who loved to sing.
       The congregation sang two hymns requested by Clayton in a 
     letter written to Woodrick three years ago. ``Blessed 
     Assurance,'' and ``Amazing Grace.''
       Woodrick said the words that Jesus spoke when he raised 
     Lazarus from the dead, ``Loose him, and let him go,'' were 
     chosen by Clayton for the inscription on his tombstone.
       There were no graveside services. Burial was in the New 
     Albany Cemetery. The family greeted those who came to express 
     their condolences in the fellowship hall.
       United Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.
       Clayton was born Aug. 22, 1907 in Ripley, the son of Ira L. 
     and Nancy McCord Clayton. He was class valedictorian of 
     Ripley High School in 1925, where he had edited the school 
     newspaper his senior year.
       He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1929 and a law 
     degree in 1931, both from the University of Mississippi where 
     he was first editor-in-chief of the Mississippi Law Journal, 
     president of Phi Delta Theta, Phi Alpha Delta and Tau Kappa 
     Alpha and a member of the 1931 Hall of Fame.
       It was love at first sight when Clayton saw Cathryn Rose 
     Carter of Bolivar, Tenn., a Blue Mountain College student on 
     the Doodlebug, a small two-car train which ran from 
     Louisville, Miss. to Jackson, Tenn. He had Leslie Darden 
     arrange a blind date. After her graduation in June 1939, they 
     were married.
       They had two children, Rose Clayton who is the wife of U.S. 
     Senator Thad Cochran, and Hugh Carter ``Buzzy'' Clayton. Both 
     graduated from Ole Miss. Buzzy, who also graduated from the 
     Ole Miss Law School, died of leukemia at the age of 27 after 
     he had practiced law for about two years and was the Union 
     County prosecuting attorney.
       Hugh Clayton was a lieutenant commander in the Navy during 
     World War II. He was the New Albany city attorney for 44 
     years and city school board attorney for 48 years. He was a 
     director of the Bank of New Albany.
       He was a member of First United Methodist Church and was a 
     Sunday School teacher for 40 years and had served as chairman 
     of the board of the North Mississippi Conference of the 
     United Methodist Church.
       Clayton was national chairman of the American Red Cross 
     Board in 1959 and the only volunteer chosen for that honor 
     who did not live in a city of 500,000 or more. New Albany 
     then had a population of 3,680.
       He was a regional and national promoter of Boy Scouts, 
     serving on the Yocona Area Council Executive Board from 1955-
     1976 and on the National Council from 1959-76. Clayton was 
     the recipient of the Silver Beaver and the Silver Antelope 
       He was president of the Mississippi State Bar and a member 
     of the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association. He 
     was the first president of the Ole Miss Law Alumni 
     Association. He was a fellow of the American College of Trial 
       He was district governor of Rotary International and was 
     made a Paul Harris Fellow in 1976. He served as a member of 
     the executive committee of the New Albany Centennial 
     Celebration in 1940 and was named honorary chairman of New 
     Albany's Sesquicentennial in 1990.
       Clayton had been active in the local and state Democratic 
     party and served on the National Democratic committee from 
     1956-60. He was a Mason and had been presented a life 
     membership after serving 50 years in the Ripley lodge.
       Music was always a part of his life. He studied violin for 
     11 years and played in churches and weddings. He played the 
     saxophone five years at Ole Miss and the bass horn three 
     years in an Ole Miss dance band. He hired a young aspiring 
     writer, William Faulkner to refurbish that horn, which is now 
     in the William Faulkner Birthplace Museum in New Albany. 
     Clayton always started his Sunday School class with a 20 
     minute song session. Clayton had been president of the Union 
     County and Tippah County Singing Conventions.
       In the past year, he and his wife have made available 
     office space for the Union County Literacy Council Learning 
       Baxter Knox, who served as a New Albany mayor for three 
     terms while Clayton was city attorney, said, ``We go way 
     back. We tried many cases together and against each other. It 
     was a cordial relationship. He was a real friend and a good 
     attorney. Hugh had a knack for getting along with people.''
       In addition to his wife and daughter, Clayton is survived 
     by one grandson and two granddaughters.
       Pallbearers were Joe Robbins, Tom Shands, Joe Parks, Tommy 
     Barkely, Vance Witt and Dwight Williams.
       Honorary pallbearers were members of the Hugh N. Clayton 
     Sunday School Class at First United Methodist Church, the 
     Union County Bar Association and the Board of Directors of 
     the Bank of New Albany.

            Rev. Lavelle Woodrick Eulogy for Hugh N. Clayton

                         (By Lavelle Woodrick)

       A minister named Ray Stedman wrote about meeting a young 
     man who had recently become a Christian. In the course of the 
     conversation the minister remarked that now the young man 
     could be free of the fear of death. He replied, ``I've never 
     much been afraid of death. But I'll tell you what I am afraid 
     of--I'm afraid I'll waste my life.''
       Hugh Clayton didn't waste his life. Far from it! He was a 
     man whose influence for good touched countless persons. He 
     served in numerous ways for the betterment of others. In 
     fact, the number and diversity of the avenues of service to 
     which he gave his time, talents and energies are remarkable. 
     In recognition of such services many honors and distinctions 
     were bestowed upon him.
       Signs of leadership abilities and commitments were evident 
     when he was a student at the University of Mississippi. He 
     was elected to the Hall of Fame, and he was the first editor 
     of the Mississippi Law Journal, published by the University's 
     Law School. Hugh played tuba in the Ole Miss band and dance 
     band. Once when his tuba needed refurbishing, he gave the job 
     to a young writer named William Faulkner, who painted the 
     bell of the tuba gold. Hugh's famous tuba is now in our local 
       His honors as a student forecast a long and distinguished 
     career. He served as president of the Mississippi Bar 
     Association. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the 
     American Bar Association, and he was a member of the 
     Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee.
       For his service to the Boy Scouts organization, he was 
     given the prestigious Silver Beaver Award. He served on the 
     National Council of Boy Scouts of America.
       He was also a member of the National Board of the American 
     Red Cross.
       He served a term as District Governor of Rotary 
     International, and was a past president of the Rotary Club of 
     New Albany.
       He responded to the call of patriotic duty in World War II 
     and was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy.
       Some several years ago, his beloved Alma Mater, Ole Miss, 
     conferred on him the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
       Hugh Clayton served his local community in many ways. His 
     law practice enabled him to be both counsellor and friend to 
     countless clients over the years. He was city attorney and 
     city school board attorney for nearly 50 years. He was a 
     director of the Bank of New Albamy.
       Hugh loved to write letters. I have a thick file of the 
     letters he wrote to me. I cherish each of them because they 
     were always loving, affirming and supportive. In one letter, 
     he said that my sermons were too short, and gave his opinion 
     that a good sermon couldn't be preached in 15 minutes, a 
     position which I feel sure would not represent the majority. 
     However, in a letter of three years ago, exactly, he gave 
     instructions for his funeral service and asked that no 
     laudatory remarks about him be said. So in this service when 
     he wanted me to be brief, I am speaking longer than usual at 
     these services; and I shall not be too stunned if I receive a 
     letter from the other side soon taking me to task for not 
     following orders.
       But a life of such far-reaching good must be celebrated for 
     our good. We need the inspiration of a life well lived.
       While we have recounted some of Hugh's accomplishments and 
     honors, the one he loved most, beyond his family, was the 
       For a number of years he was the North Mississippi editor 
     of a Methodist periodical which was called The New Orleans 
     Christian Advocate. He was also treasurer of the North 
     Mississippi Methodist fund that assisted pastors serving 
     small churches in the rural areas of our Conference, and 
     Hugh's files contain all the correspondence of that era. 
     For many years he was the chairman of the Board of 
     Trustees of the North Mississippi Methodist Conference. As 
     such he gave an enormous amount of legal service to the 
     Conference, especially in the area of Church property.
       He was a faithful member of this Church and held many 
     positions of leadership.
       He will be remembered in this church primarily as the 
     teacher of the Sunday School class that was named for him a 
     few years ago. More than 40 years ago, he became that class's 
     teacher and he remained its teacher until about a year ago.
       It was more than a class. It was, and is, like a family. 
     Hugh referred to the class members as his ``boys.'' He guided 
     them, counselled them, challenged them, laughed with them, 
     and cried with them when one of their number died or when 
     some other sorrow touched them.
       Hugh was both teacher and song leader. The class session 
     always began with a number of old, familiar hymns. With hymn 
     book in his right hand, Hugh would direct with his left hand, 
     using broad horizontal sweeps of his arm to give the beat. He 
     would also lead the singing for the entire congregation on 
     special occasions, using his familiar song-leading 
     techniques. He loved music, especially the old favorites and 
     the singing convention type songs. He once wrote to me, ``you 
     may not believe it, but I am true country. I have been 
     president of the Tippah County Singing Convention and the 
     Union County Singing Convention.
       Not only True Country, but True Churchman, True Citizen, 
     True Husband, Father, Grandfather, Friend.
       When he reached the immortal realm on Saturday, we are sure 
     that he and his beloved Buzzy were reunited. But after that, 
     don't you suppose that all of his Sunday School class boys 
     who preceded him there came to greet him. And I can hear him 
     say, ``Boys, let's sing our medley.'' And from that sublime 
     place burst forth the strains of ``Heavenly Sunshine.'' And 
     they would want us to hear them sing also, ``It Is No Secret 
     What God Can Do,'' ``So Let the Sunshine In.''
       And that's what we want to do. Let the Sunshine of God's 
     grace in Jesus Christ into our lives.
       On his grave stone, Hugh had a verse from John 11:44 carved 
     into the marble. It comes from the story of the raising of 
     Lazarus. Jesus called forth the dead Lazarus out of the tomb. 
     He came forth bound by all the wrappings with which the dead 
     were covered. Then Jesus said to those around him, ``Loose 
     him and let him go.'' Those are the words on Hugh's grave 
       We release him to his heavenly home, but we shall not let 
     the memories depart, and for them and for him we will always 
     be grateful to God.
                                                 Lavelle Woodrick,
     His Pastor.