Graveside funeral services for Joan Clayton, 91, longtime resident of Portales, will be held at 10:00 AM, Tues., April 21, 2020 in the Portales Cemetery with Kenneth Broad officiating. All of her family, and many friends and former students will be honorary pallbearers. The family requests that those who desire to make memorial contributions send them to the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home, 1356 NM 236, Portales, NM 88130. Due to the restrictions on large gatherings, the service will be live streamed on our website, wheelermortuary.net. It will also be made available on Joan’s obituary page on our website for viewing at a later time. To view a tribute video click HERE.
Joan Clayton was born Aug. 30, 1928 in Capitan, NM to the home of Gladys Rosalyn (Farrar) and Joseph “Monroe” Foster, and died early the morning of April 17, 2020 in Amarillo, TX where she had been recently living to be close to family. Joan grew up in Melrose, and graduated from Melrose High School in 1946. She went on to attend ENMU where she earned a degree in education. On July 30, 1948 in Portales, she was married to Emmitt Clayton. The couple enjoyed more than 64 years of marriage before Emmitt’s death on May 1, 2013.
Joan’s teaching career began in Texico, where she taught third grade for a year. She then began teaching first grade in Portales, and later taught second grade until her retirement. In all she taught for more than 37 years. Joan was named in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 1994 and twice more in 2002. She was elected to the Portales School’s “Hall of Honor” in 1995.
Joan began a second career as an author, which she continued until 2014. During that time, she was the Religion Columnist for the Portales News Tribune for more than 21 years publishing more than 1,000 weekly articles. As an author, she had a goal of being published in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She achieved that 13 times. She also had nine published books that she authored, as well as over 450 published magazine articles. In addition, there were 44 of her stories published in anthologies, and she received the Editor’s Choice Award for Poetry from Cooper-House Pub. on May 29, 1993. Joan was chosen as Woman of the Year in 2003.
Joan loved to work in her yard with Emmitt. Together they created a front yard of memories from the many trips they made with their sons throughout the area where they would pick up various reminders. In their back yard they created a virtual oasis with many trees and vegetation. Anyone who knew Joan, knew how she loved to dress up, and always look her very best. The same was for her home, where she decorated every corner with beauty.
Joan was a joy to know. Her vibrant faith was evident to everyone with whom she came in contact. She was a life long member of the Church of Christ, and a member of Third and Kilgore Church of Christ at the time of her death. For all of her honors on earth, her greatest joy was to see Jesus face to face.
Joan and Emmitt had three sons, Mark, Tony (Lane) and Lance. Lance preceded her in death on Aug. 20, 2013, only a little more than three months after the death of her husband. In addition, she was preceded in death by her parents and her only brother, Jim Foster, who died in 2019. She is survived by two sons, and three daughters-in-law, Mark and Ladona Clayton of Dallas, TX, Tony (Lane) and Kari Clayton of Amarillo, TX and Connie (Mrs. Lance) Clayton of Houston, TX; six grandchildren, Krisstal Dawn Clayton, Joe Mark Clayton, Jr. and wife, Jen, Jody Clint Clayton and wife, Jane, Cody Lance Clayton and wife, Ashley, Traci Lynn Clayton and Kallie Gayle Koumalats and husband, Scott; and six great-grandchildren, Cayden, Cash, Campbell, Cope, Cate and Jaelyn Clayton.
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