WARSAW — Clay Sutton Scott, 94, died Tuesday, December 7, 2021, just nine days prior to his 95th birthday, at Vidant Duplin Hospital in Kenansville with his children around his bedside.
Clay was born December 16, 1926 to Claude Southerland Scott and Hazel Boyette Scott of Warsaw. He was the youngest of the family's seven children and is the last to leave us.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret Carr Scott, “the prettiest girl he’d ever seen.” They were married for almost 74 years. His five children also survive him: Karrina Elaine Scott of Rose Hill; Gail S. Sikes (Sonny) of Rose Hill; Gary C. Scott (Debby) of Warsaw; Barbara S. Barwick (Wayne) of Kinston; and Russell H. Scott (Amy) of Richlands. Grandchildren are Clayton R. Sutton (Dee) of Bucklesberry; Marsha S. Turner (Beau) of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Alex G. Scott (Ryann) of Wilmington; Katie S. Owen (Thomas) of Warsaw; Ethan H. Scott (Sarah) of Morrisville; and Elliott T. Scott of Richlands. Great-Grandchildren are Grayson Sutton, Brinley-Grace Sutton, Cameron Sutton, Hayden Turner, Macy Turner, Atlas Turner, Emily Owen and Caroline Owen. A ninth great-grandchild he was looking forward to meeting is due in 2022. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Marshall M. Carr, Jr. and his wife June of Wilson. The family also acknowledges its special and close relationship with Clay’s caregiver, Ann (a.k.a. “Amy”) Faison of Warsaw.
In addition to his parents, Clay was pre-deceased by siblings Manley Elmore Scott of Warsaw and his wife Ann Sanzone Scott; Arlene Scott West of Warsaw and her husband, J.D. West; John Andrew Scott of Kenansville and his wife, Hazel; Emma Scott Lockamy of Warsaw, and her husband A.C. (Peanut); Marcus Williams Scott of Warsaw; and an infant brother.
Special thanks to the staff of Vidant Duplin Hospital and Vidant Hospice for their care in Clay’s final days.
Clay was educated at Warsaw High School, N.C. State University, and the University of Mount Olive.
He was highly and widely regarded by his peers in most every endeavor he pursued. He was an electronics engineer, TV/Radio service technician, Merchant Marine ship radio operator/officer, mathematician, amateur astronomer, philosopher, computer guru, craftsman, gardener, carpenter and furniture maker. He was also loved dearly as a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Early on in life Clay came to acknowledge his uncertainty about some of the philosophical and religious matters of deep concern to life. He was a rationalist and a freethinker and lived a long satisfied life, comfortable with his personal philosophy. Some of the writers and thinkers he admired and followed included Robert Ingersoll, Bertrand Russell, Thomas Paine, Charles Watts, Carl Sagan, Thomas Hale, John Lydgate, Arthur Clarke, and Isaac Asimov, among others.
As a U.S. Merchant Marine, he served his country from 1944-1956, and was trained at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York. Because of his ROTC training received at N.C. State College (now NCSU), Clay was chosen as trainee petty officer for his unit. He served as the radio officer on several ships during and following World War II. This also gave him an opportunity to become a world traveler to places such as England, Belgium, Italy, Gibraltar, North Africa, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Greenland, Canada and other countries.
In 1991, he was awarded an honorable discharge by the U.S Coast Guard for wartime service as radio officer in the U.S. Merchant Marines. During the "cold war" years in the late 1950's and early '60's, Clay was a participating member of the United States Information Agency. This was an agency that was responsible for the maintenance and the continuation of the communications facilities and resources of the U.S. Government and its agencies in the event of war or any other national catastrophe.
He was also a member of the Veteran Wireless Operators Association.
Clay was a constant student from an early age throughout his life. At age 14, he convinced his father to invest in an extensive 80-part radio electronics home study course for him from the National Radio Institute in Washington, D.C. and quickly completed the entire course—the first of a number of electronics home study courses he would go on to complete.
A self-employed service technician for radio and television, he also worked during 1950’s and ’60’s as Engineer for WITN-TV, helping to build, install and operate the equipment for the station’s transmitter site near Grifton, N.C. Later, when Quinn Company was beginning a radio station for the Warsaw area in eastern North Carolina, Clay was hired to install the equipment for WTRQ Radio Station, and served as its engineer for several years.
He enthusiastically joined the personal computer revolution in its early years, studying the DOS operating system and becoming proficient in programming and online operations. His programming for his wife Margaret’s genealogy research for the Scott-Boyette, Carr, and Taylor-Hill families was instrumental in the publishing of those and other related books.
Once, a teacher, when asking her students the occupations of her students' parents, was told by one of Clay's children that her father was a "jack of all trades." This was quite a true statement. He, though, was a "master of all" because he could find a way to make any kind of repair to nearly anything. He was a collector of many items that might be useful at a later time, and more often than not, he found a use for the many things he collected. If he did not have a part, he made the part — sometimes even making the tool — for both electrical and mechanical repairs. This was evidenced by his pride of keeping a lawn mower in good working shape for more than 60 years. His and other children and grandchildren brought their repairs to him. Once a young nephew and his young friend were seen coming down the road pulling a little red wagon. When they reached Clay's home, he saw that the wagon was loaded with their broken toys and they wanted Clay to "fix" them — which he did.
He also believed in “having a spare” to make sure you were never short-handed.
Clay and Margaret were very concerned with their health and maintained a daily walking program for many years. Coupled with this program was their interest in nature, ecology, and the environment, so that on their daily walks, they always carried bags to collect roadside trash to be recycled or properly disposed. They became known as "the old couple" always seen on the road. People would say, "I saw you on the road" or ask, "Are you still walking?"
In addition to his love of reading and thinking, Clay was also a lover of music. He loved most all music, although classical and Big Band were his favorites.
He thought deeply on matters of life and the concepts of Nature’s reality as he searched for understanding. He constructed a commercial telescope for his amateur study of astronomy which provided many hours of observing mostly the solar system in which we live as well as some more distant heavenly bodies.
While having grown up working on the family farm, Clay elected to spend his pursuits toward more technical and academic endeavors. Nevertheless, he continued for a number of years to provide fresh garden bounty for his family, as well as carpentry in structure and some furniture building for his home and family while also pursuing his other professional interests.
Clay left us with some thoughts important to him:
*To live without belief in primitive superstitions is intellectually stimulating.
*To find one's own purpose and be responsible for one's own life is exciting.
*To be free of the imagined surveillance of good and evil spirits is liberating.
*To seek a peaceful world through work, friendship and civic action is life-affirming.
Clay’s was a life not wasted.
Memorials can be made to Vidant Home Health and Hospice, Well Care Home Health, or a charity or other good cause of the giver’s choosing.
A memorial service remembering Clay’s life and accomplishments will be held Saturday, December 11, 2021 at Community Funeral Home, Highway 24/50, Warsaw, at 1:00 p.m. Visitation will follow immediately after the service. Visitors will also be received in the home.